WASHINGTON, D.C. - Central Coast congressman Salud Carbajal had a firsthand look at Wednesday's chaos on Capitol Hill.
Carbajal was in his office at the Capitol when rioters and supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building, overwhelming Capitol Police and taking control of congressional offices and chambers.
Carbajal spoke with NewsChannel 3 after the building had been cleared.
“I think the Capitol Police did a great job, but I think they underestimated the voracity and aggression of this mob," he said.
Carbajal says he was in his office due to COVID-19 distancing protocols when the electoral vote certification hearing began, and remained there after the violence forced the session to pause.
“This will be a day that will live in my mind in infamy,” he said.
Carbajal blamed Trump and his allies for inciting "a coup." He says Trump is "in denial" over his election loss in November, with no evidence of widespread voter fraud and his legal challenges resoundingly dismissed by the courts.
“Shameful to have a president who continues to behave the way he’s behaving, trying to behave like a dictator,” Carbajal said.
As for those who breached the Capitol building, Carbajal says their sense of patriotism is misguided. He recalled the oaths he has taken as a congressman and in the marine corps to defend the U.S. from foreign and domestic enemies.
“Clearly we saw many domestic individuals that I think were trying to wrap themselves in the flag, but in reality were traitors,” he said. “Traitors of not letting the transition of power move forward as the Constitution outlines."
Although some lawmakers are now in favor of drafting articles of impeachment to immediately remove the president, or invoking the 25th Amendment to immediately strip him of presidential power, Carbajal is looking ahead to Inauguration Day.
“Certainly this president’s behavior has risen to all those considerations, but I think it would just be a distraction, to be honest with you,” Carbajal said. “With less than two weeks pending, I think we need to be selective about what issues we want to take up about this president’s wrongdoing and corruption.
“We need to just get this done, move forward, transition the incoming administration into power and put all this behind us. And do everything possible to heal the divide, to work together and get to a better place for the United States.”
On Thursday afternoon, Rep. Carbajal tweeted his support of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would strip President Trump's presidential power.