"I was fearful enough to take off my jacket, to take off my lapel pin, to take off my tie, to blend in as much as possible, not to seem like a member of Congress."
Two weeks after rioters breached the Capitol, Congressman Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) spoke with FOX 11’s Elex Michaelson about his experience that day in the building, his hope for the future, and his trepidation about some of his new Republican colleagues in the House.
"The new batch of Republicans that got elected, some of them are QAnon believers," said the Los Angeles Democrat. "They believe that there is a pedophile ring that’s controlled by the highest levels of government, and only Donald Trump is the one that can take back the government and defeat them."
"Wouldn’t you be concerned about those kinds of people?" Michaelson asked.
"I am," Gomez replied.
Those concerns come after Gomez, alongside some dozen other House members, was trapped in the Chamber balcony as protestors entered the building. The group had been seated there in order to socially distance during a debate over the certification of the 2020 Presidential election.
One of the members trapped with Gomez was Congresswoman Norma Torres (D-Calif.). This week, Torres, revealing her ongoing trauma following the incident, admitted she had purchased a bullet-proof vest to protect herself from any potential threats at this week’s inauguration, adding that she was "encouraging all of my colleagues to do the same thing."
Michaelson asked Gomez if he was considering the purchase.
"I am, and so are a lot of my colleagues," Gomez answered. "We are concerned, not only about our colleagues, but just extremist elements that are out there in the country that have been emboldened by this attack that was incited by Donald Trump on January 6."
Those bullet-proof vests will not be the only increased security at President-Elect Joe Biden’s swearing-in on January 20.
Currently, more than 25,000 National Guard members are patrolling the streets of Washington DC, a total more than four times greater the number of troops now stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan, combined.
Despite potential threats from colleagues, outside extremists, or even within the ranks of the National Guard, a fear which prompted FBI vetting of each deployed troop, Gomez appeared hopeful about what is ahead.
"A new beginning for this country is beginning on January 20, 2021 with the installation of Kamala Harris and Joe BIden as Vice President and President of the United States," Gomez said. "I think it’s gonna send a signal of hope and inspiration that better days are still ahead of us, that our country is still functioning, and that we can bring our country together despite our differences."