Rep. Linda T. Sanchez called Donald Trump a "traitor" for inciting a riot at the U.S. Capitol last week, and then praising the rioters

By Wendy Grossman Kantor
January 11, 2021 11:03 AM
Advertisement
Linda T. Sanchez, Donald Trump
| Credit: courtesy of Office of Rep. Linda T. Sanchez; SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty

Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez doesn’t want anything to be named after Donald Trump after the sitting United States president incited a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week.

"I am working on a bill that would mean that nothing — not even a bench, no airport, no highway, no school — nothing – ever bear the name of this traitor," she tells PEOPLE.

Tuesday night, Sánchez called her husband and told him where her will was.

Around 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, she was sitting in the Gallery of the House Chambers when she received two security alerts.

“Something told me, ‘You better leave,'" Sánchez tells PEOPLE.

At 1:37 p.m., she texted her Chief of Staff that she was coming back to the office.

“Walking back through the tunnels,” she says, “I heard in the distance, a boom, which reinforced the idea that I was making the right decision.”

Sánchez was watching Mitch McConnell speak when her phone started blowing up. “Family members and friends are texting me, 'Are you okay? Are you safe?' "

She and her chief of staff drew the blinds, pushed desks in front of the door, and grabbed the baseball bats Sánchez, who plays the sport, keeps in her office.

“I remember just thinking to myself, ’I want to live to see my son grow up,'” she says.

RELATED VIDEO: Police Officer Dies a Day After Sustaining Injuries During Riots at the Capitol Building

Capital Police escorted Sánchez to a secure location with other members of Congress. But, shortly after they arrived, it was announced they would be evacuated on buses.

Earlier, Sánchez had looked out her office window and saw those buses surrounded by rioters.

“I said, "I'm going back to my office,”” she remembers, and she returned to the Rayburn building. She sat in the dark watching news coverage of rioters ransacking the building — "Gleefully desecrating what, to me, is a symbol of our democracy," she says.

She wants to hold the people responsible for the riots accountable. “That starts with the President because he invited people to the Capitol, and he incited them," she says.

Sánchez is joining members of Congress calling for invoking of the 25th amendment to strip Trump of his power. But she isn’t optimistic.

“Given that those around Trump have never stood up to him, I have a hard time believing that they will meet this moment with the, with the appropriate response,” she says. “So we have also, I have also signed on to articles of impeachment to try to remove him.”

And she’s working on her bill to try to make certain that nothing is ever named in Trump’s honor.

“I don't think that he deserves any of the benefits that are conferred on prior presidents,” Sánchez says. “I don't believe that a seditious occupant of the White House should have ever have anything named after him.”