Newly elected U.S. Rep. Carlos Gimenez, whose 26th District includes the Florida Keys, spoke with Keys Weekly while on lockdown Wednesday afternoon during the violent melee at the U.S. Capitol.
Gimenez emphasized that he and his staff are safe, and had been evacuated from his offices “about 45 minutes into the proceedings today.”
“This is totally unacceptable and everyone who violated the law needs to be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Gimenez told Keys Weekly.
He said he was not inside the House chambers at the time of the melee, as the chambers were limited to officials slated to speak today.
“We were watching the proceedings on television in our offices and saw what was happening; then we got lockdown instructions via text message from the Capitol Police,” Gimenez told Keys Weekly.
No further communications from the police had been received, he said, “as I assume they’re rather busy.” Gimenez said he expects an “after-action report to be compiled following this incident so we can determine what happened here with a crowd — and not even a real big crowd — that’s able to breach our congressional chambers.”
He said the biggest security concern this morning was traffic due to the crowds of protesters.
“The preparation we received this morning was that the police wanted us in our offices by 9 a.m. due to traffic concerns, given the expected crowds,” Gimenez said.
When asked whether members of Congress had heard any communication from President Donald Trump since the siege began and protesters gained access to the congressional chambers, Gimenez said no.
“I believe the president has made some statements on Twitter, but I would hope he’ll make some additional statements to disperse this crowd,” Gimenez said, adding that the time is now for America to “start focusing on what we agree on, which are the founding principles of this country. There’s going to be disagreements. That’s why we have a House and Senate. That’s the heart of our democracy.”
Trump did make a brief address shortly after we spoke with Gimenez, urging the rioters to “go home in peace.”