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February 12, 2021

Aguilar shares his experience at U.S. Capitol insurrection

U.S. Rep. Pete Aguilar spoke to the Redlands Sunrise Rotary Club about his experience during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and what his goals are moving forward.

On Wednesday, Feb. 10, Aguilar joined the Sunrise Rotary Club meeting via Zoom.

“January was eventful on so many levels,” said Aguilar. “From what happened at the Capitol to the swearing-in of new Congress members. I remember six years ago taking that oath for the first time with my family around me, and unfortunately, this group didn’t get that.”

Aguilar said he was on the House floor on Jan. 6 during the insurrection. “I was 15 feet away from where the violent mob was pounding on the back House doors,” he said. “I was actually behind Rep. Jamie Raskin, who is the lead impeachment manager, so we navigated the moment as best we could. We didn’t know what was happening or the breadth of what was happening around us and outside. As it became more clear, it was a little difficult to process once you take into account the rioters’ motivations.”

Aguilar was asked if there truly is a big divide among the Democratic and Republican parties or if the public is only hearing the extremes.

“The answer can be both honestly,” said Aguilar. “I can’t pretend that what happened doesn’t color my experience, but historically I have a track record of working with Republicans. I was part of a bipartisan program that wanted to tie Democrats and Republicans together to visit each other’s districts. There are places where you can build relationships and lasting friendships, which will pay dividends as we carry legislation.

“However, it’s difficult to see some of my colleagues and close friends who voted not to certify the election and to hear them privately say they are afraid of their constituents and the former president. It’s hard to reconcile some of these things.