The atmosphere was surreal, said U.S. Rep Doug LaMalfa, a Richvale Republican, who experienced the Wednesday mob attack on the U.S. Capitol.
LaMalfa’s 1st Congressional District is made up of northern California counties, including Butte, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Tehama and parts of Glenn, Nevada and Placer counties. He was sworn in for a fifth term on Monday.
LaMalfa was in the Capitol as pro-Trump protesters pushed through barriers and past police, leading to the temporary shutdown of the building and pausing Congress’ review and certification of Electoral College votes.
“We heard violent pounding on the doors and at one point someone shouted, ‘shots fired,’ and we all hit the floor,” he said Wednesday evening. “People inside the House chamber were putting furniture against the inside doors and busting up chairs to use as a weapon just in case.”
LaMalfa said he wasn’t scared as chaos broke out.
“Inside, the Capitol police and Secret Service were doing exactly what they are trained to do,” he said. “They were focused and doing a good job of getting us all out and into the underground tunnels. I felt immediately that we were going to be fine. They kept saying, ‘hussle, hussle, go, go,’ as they sequestered us into a different area of safety.”
LaMalfa described what was taking place outside the building as “intolerable.”
“I don’t care what group it is, or what side they are on, this is way beyond what should take place here,” LaMalfa said. “Whether such action is taking place against federal property or private property, this is absolutely intolerable.”
Once the group of delegates was in the narrow tunnels, moving toward the basement, LaMalfa said, he felt much calmer.
“I knew they (the mob) couldn’t get to us in there; they couldn’t get past the security that was in front of us and behind us.”
LaMalfa said he stands by his decision to challenge the Electoral College certification until a Congressional investigation is complete. He was among a group of delegates from both houses who had earlier announced they would challenge ballots from some states.
“I have been receiving different signals from some of my colleagues because of what has occurred today (Wednesday), but I remain firm. We can’t be cowed into not doing our job because a mob showed up, no matter what side that mob says they are on,” he said. “We have to get to the bottom of what went on in the five states in question.
“If we allow mob action to break down the Congressional process, we no longer have a working government,” he concluded.
As night fell, Congress reconvened. Electoral College votes were eventually approved, affirming Joe Biden as president-elect.