Jimmy Gomez, NELA’s Congressmember, is partially visible behind Rep. Jason Crow (center) and Rep. Susan Wild (foreground). Lawmakers who were in the House gallery when the mob reached the chamber had to take cover and await evacuation. | @andyharnik for AP Photo

Jimmy Gomez talks about the path forward after the Capitol siege

2021 Editions January

By Matthew Reagan

In a recent conversation with the Boulevard Sentinel, Jimmy Gomez, NELA’s Congressmember, described his experiences during the attack on the United States Capitol on Jan. 6 — and his hope for the future.

For Gomez, the way forward starts with accountability. A week after the attack, with scenes of the siege vivid in his memory, he joined a bipartisan House majority in voting to impeach President Donald Trump for inciting the insurrection.

That same week, he signed on as one of 47 original co-sponsors to a resolution by Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo) calling for an investigation by the Ethics committee into whether House members who sought to overturn the election should be expelled over their role in fomenting the attack. The resolution, which now has 54 co-sponsors, cites the Fourteenth Amendment barring anyone who has engaged in disloyalty or sedition against the U.S. from serving in the House of Representatives.

Gomez told the Sentinel that on the day of the riot, he was watching the proceedings on the House floor from the gallery as sounds of footsteps and shouting began to reach the chamber. He watched as Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La), who had just finished a speech challenging the election results, was whisked away by security. “I was really annoyed by that,” said Gomez, referring to the swift evacuation of a Member who echoed the attackers’ baseless voter-fraud claims, while lawmakers in the gallery who were there to uphold the election had, for the time being, no escape.

As the sounds of the mob grew louder, the chamber locked down. Gomez heard police orders to hit the ground and what he believed were flashbangs or gunshots just outside. While on the ground, lawmakers searched under their seats for gas masks and struggled to tear them from their packaging. Amid the chaos, Gomez said he ripped open the packaging for Rep. Susan Wild, (D-Pa) who was seen in a viral photo being assisted by Rep. Jason Crow (D-Co) with Gomez partially visible behind Crow. Clutching a gas mask in one hand and his phone in the other, Gomez texted his wife saying he was trying  to get out of the Capitol. “I didn’t want to say, you know, ‘I’m on the ground and we’re trapped,’ to worry her,” Gomez said.

Disorder growing by the minute, Gomez recalls the police moving the chamber’s wooden furniture to barricade the doors. Mentally, Gomez began to prepare for the event that rioters could breach the chamber. “I was just watching and I thought to myself, ‘If they’re coming in, I don’t want to look like a member of Congress.’ I took off my jacket because I had a lapel pin and made it into a ball. I took off my tie and put it in my pocket,” Gomez said.

Minutes later, the police instructed lawmakers to run out the far door of the chamber, said Gomez. He remembers running through discarded gas-mask packaging and helping others contend with several railings they had to navigate on the way to the secure location.

Once in the secure room, another threat emerged as some Republican representatives refused to wear face masks, said Gomez. (Since Jan. 6, four Democratic representatives who have tested positive for COVID-19 have said they believed they were exposed during the attack on the Capitol.)

In Gomez’s view, change for the better will require “Democrats and Republicans of good conscience [to] put their country before party or political ambitions.” He is hopeful, he said, that an attack of this nature will be a catalyst for that change but realizes that even now, there’s resistance to working across the aisle. “Republicans like the new QAnon supporters, like Marjorie Taylor Greene [R-Ga], we’re never going to get them,” he said. “So we have a lot of work to do.”
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Matthew Reagan, a senior at Occidental College, is a founding member of the NELA Neighborhood Reporting Partnership, a collaboration between the Boulevard Sentinel and The Occidental campus newspaper.

 



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6 thoughts on “Jimmy Gomez talks about the path forward after the Capitol siege

  1. “I don’t want to look like a member of Congress.”
    Mr Gomez wants all the honors and privileges of being a member of Congress but when faced with a challenging situation, Mr Gomez removes his House pin and curls up into the fetal position.
    Military members use combat skills and evasive maneuvers to protect themselves in dangerous combat situations but they never take off their uniform. They will go to their deaths with their uniforms on because they are proud of their military branch and their County.
    I have no problem with Mr Gomez on the floor protecting himself until he can escape but taking the time to remove his House pin is what cowards do.
    As troubling as the riot was to watch, it signifies the division that is dividing America today. And the first thing America needs to do is stop treating members of the other party as an enemy but as an American with a different view because that the end of the day, we are all Americans.

    1. Some of the rioters who broke into the Capitol were armed and dangerous. Rep. Gomez is not a member of the armed forces, had no weapon, and was trying to avoid attack. Shedding an identifying suitcoat was one way of remaining safe. I would not second guess anyone who legitimately feared for his safety.

    2. A mob was coming to do god only knows and he camouflaged himself so he could more effectively help his fellow law makers some of whom he had already reached out for and aided. He’s not a soldier, he’s a congressman facing a lawless mob. You calling him a coward is trash talking garbage. You should apologize.

  2. No one should have experienced what our representatives experienced that terrible day. Not them nor all the innocent citizens this past summer in so many American cities that insurrections occurred, yes insurrections, there is no such thing as “Mostly Peaceful Protest” when rioting and looting breaks out.
    This didn’t just happen recently. Its been “Fomenting” since our out-going president first took office in 2016. At the time, Assemblyman-now Congressman Gomez was sure Donald Trump was a Russian operative and that he was involved in a Quid-pro-quo with the Ukrainian president (search Biden brags about getting Ukrainian prosecutor fired on u-tube for the real quid-pro-quo, its still there for everyone to see for themselves). Congressman Gomez refused to work with the Republicans on any matter, choosing to vote along party lines every time!
    I see congressman Gomez is now wishing the “Democrats and Republicans of good conscience [to] put their country before party or political ambitions.” I ask how many times did congressman Gomez (In good conscience) reach out to the other side during his current term? We need both parties to work together for the common good of our nation and yes, put country before party or political ambition…Jimmy, do as you say-not as you do!
    I always pray for all our representatives (Dem & Rep) and for our president (current and future) to succeed. We all win when they are successful! We are Americans first, can’t everyone see that?!

  3. Dr. King was a great help in pushing America forward to realize it’s dream of equality for all. He used non violent peaceful protests to accomplish that goal. The agents provacateur play goes way back in time and I remember it well from the sixties. Start a fight call in the cops claim the demonstration was violent. BLM marches were attacked and discredited over and over with this very play. What happened at the Capitol was a demagogue with no interest in truth or democracy whipped up his followers and pointed them at the Capitol to overthrow democratic rule. Big difference . trump was/is a bad selfish potential tyrant.

    1. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! Are you saying the BLM “protest” were not violent?! Open your eyes man!
      How were BLM protest attacked and discredited? On the contrary, they were hailed and allowed to degenerate into looting and rioting as police watched (Police only came in after to stem the destruction and to defend themselves). It was hardly reported by the mainstream media. So many places of business were burned down and/or looted in what started as a “mostly peaceful” protest by BLM. Please stop minimizing or downright lying about BLM activities that happened FOR MONTHS this past summer! …(“PIGS in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon!”-BLM rally cry regarding our cops).
      I agree with you on the insurgency at the capitol. In no way am I defending what happened there or the cause, but you can’t close your eyes to all the other destructive activities that were perpetrated on everyday citizens like you and me. That is more likely to happen to us then what happened at the capitol (unless you were there and participated). I was there on Melrose the day after sections were burned and looted. I wondered why then and to this day, was it really over George Floyd? No one is being held accountable-NO ONE.

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