Officials representing two of Orange County’s largest cities – Santa Ana and Garden Grove – passed resolutions officially condemning the violence that gripped the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
But even as the cities expressed similar opinions about the same event, their wording differed considerably.
In Santa Ana, the City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday, Jan. 12, on a resolution that “strongly” condemns the acts of “armed violence, domestic terrorism, and insurrection…all as incited by President (Donald) Trump.”
The president’s words and actions are mentioned several times in Santa Ana’s resolution, including his false insistence that the November election was “stolen” from Trump and his supporters because it resulted in a win for President-elect Joe Biden.
Santa Ana Councilwoman Thai Viet Phan further amended the resolution to specify that “violent white supremacists and neo-Nazis” engaged in an “attempted coup” of the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6.
Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento and his colleagues agreed to the changes: “This wasn’t a protest. This was an assault…on the bastion of what represents our democracy.”
In neighboring Garden Grove, council members took up a similar resolution but, arguing over its language, deleted any reference to Trump. They also debated whether a city council has a role in commenting on events in Washington, and they voted against an alternate resolution, offered by Councilman George Brietigam, that would have lumped the attack on the Capitol with last year’s protests about racism. Those protests were in reaction to the police killing of George Floyd, a black man who died after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. While most were peaceful, some devolved into rioting and looting.
“Either you condemn all domestic terrorism and violence or you support it, plain and simple,” Brietigam told his colleagues. “It’s wrong to condemn domestic terrorism and violence of the groups you don’t agree with while winking and nodding and prodding the groups you do agree with.”
His substitute ordinance lost, with only Councilman Phat Bui in support.
The Garden Grove ordinance that won approval condemns the attack on the Capitol from “hundreds of domestic terrorists” who pushed through barriers and “incited an insurrection.” It’s original wording, now deleted: “hundreds of pro-Trump protestors.”
At the request of Councilman John O’Neill, they also edited this clause, “…these individuals tore down United States flags and replaced them with Trump flags,” to exclude any mention of the Trump flags. By contrast, the Santa Ana resolution says: “The United States flag was desecrated and replaced with Trump and confederate flags.”
Garden Grove Councilwoman Kim Nguyen, who along with Councilwoman Deidre Thu-Ha Nguyen introduced the resolution, said after the meeting that she was disappointed that the final version wasn’t as strong as she would have liked.
Nguyen also disagreed with the idea that the siege on the Capitol, in which rioters sought to overturn the results of an election, can be equated with last summer’s protests, which sought change within the democratic process.
“Those protesters were fighting for justice, equality, equity, and human rights, whereas the domestic terrorist attack on the nation’s capitol was essentially a tantrum from individuals who felt the election was stolen,” she said.
Still, Nguyen said she’s pleased that most of the council agreed to the resolution.
“At the end of the day, we passed a resolution that at the core of its message did what it needed to do, condemn the desecration of the Capitol building and the individuals who incited a domestic terrorist attack.”
The Garden Grove council voted 4-2 for the resolution, with Brietigeman and Bui voting against it. Mayor Steve Jones joined O’Neill, Diedre Nguyen and Kim Nguyen in supporting it. Councilwoman Stephanie Klopfenstein was absent.
On Wednesday, a day after the two cities passed their resolutions, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump for his role in inciting the insurrection.
Source: Orange County Register