With the chant of “traitor” following each legislator’s name as it was read aloud, a small group held an “insurrectionist roll call” Friday in Balboa Park to mark two years since more than 120 Congress members tried to block the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.
The roll call was part of a larger “Jan. 6 Justice” rally meant to mark the date in 2021 when then-President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol in an effort to block certification of the November 2020 election and keep the incumbent in office.
About 50 people attended Friday’s rally, which was organized by local chapters of the national group Indivisible.
“We ultimately won the day,” Angela Benson from Committed to Building a Fair Democracy Indivisible told the crowd. “But democracy is still in danger.”
Held at the Bea Evenson Fountain off Park Boulevard, several speakers at the rally were drowned out by a nearby singer in an unrelated performance. Friday’s event largely focused on the Congress members who voted against election certification rather than those who stormed the Capitol.
John Mattes of Hillcrest Indivisible said the roll call was a public shaming of lawmakers who “don’t believe in a fair election.”
Among them was East County Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican who was among the 121 members of the House of Representatives and six senators who objected to the Electoral College vote tally based on a challenge to Arizona’s election results.
An Issa spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday evening. In a statement one year after the attack, Issa called it a “difficult day to be in the Capitol” before quickly criticizing Biden on immigration, the economy and other issues, saying the “weeks and months that followed have been devastating for the nation.” He has also called the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack “a partisan Democratic farce that has repeatedly abused its power.”
Mattes said Friday’s rally was “to remind Americans that we had a deliberate attempt to take over our democracy. They tried to take over the democratic process and deprive millions of people of the votes they cast.”
San Diego Councilmember Raul Campillo, a Democrat from District 7, likened Jan. 6, 2021, to days in American history such as the bombing of Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11 that will live in infamy.
It was “a day we were attacked by our own people,” Campillo told the crowd, describing the attack on the Capitol as domestic terrorism. “They were hunting the vice president from their own party.”
Larry Cousins from the group Indivisible 92116 read a letter from Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-San Diego, who called Jan. 6, 2021, “one of the darkest days in American history.” A letter that was read from Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, said the memory of that day “constantly reminds me that our Constitution and democracy are fragile and we cannot take them for granted.”
Though the attack on the Capitol occurred thousands of miles from San Diego, several local residents participated, including Ocean Beach resident Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed while trying to climb through the broken window of a door to the Speaker’s Lobby.
In the two years since, a number of San Diego County residents have been convicted or sentenced in Washington, D.C., federal court for their roles in the breach.