71-year-old staffer for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher was hurt during protest, spokesman says

Republican Dana Rohrabacher in November 2013.
(Lauren Victoria Burke / Associated Press)

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) said a 71-year-old staff member was knocked to the ground Tuesday while protesters gathered at his Southern California office.

Rohrabacher is a conservative who has voiced support for some of President Trump’s actions. He released a statement that said his longtime district director, Kathleen Staunton, fell and hit her head when a protester yanked open the office door as she was leaving.

“They were jammed outside the door and the moment Kathleen cracked the door someone yanked it open,” Rohrabacher spokesman Kenneth Grubbs said in an email.


Staunton was treated by paramedics and taken to a hospital “after falling into unconsciousness,” according to a statement from Grubbs. She had a 2-inch bump on her head, Grubbs said. A member of the protest group disputed that account.

There have been protests around the country against Republicans who support such policies as repealing the Affordable Care Act. The protests have been amplified by activists modeling their opposition to Trump on the tea party groups that sprang up to oppose President Obama.

Aaron McCall, a member of a group of Rohrabacher constituents called Indivisible 48, said they’ve been trying for weeks to request a town hall meeting with Rohrabacher but received no reply.

The 26-year-old from Costa Mesa said about 60 people went to Rohrabacher’s office for the fourth time on Tuesday. Some gathered in a narrow upstairs corridor of the downtown building to slip Valentine’s Day cards and notes under the closed office door.

A 2-year-old girl had made a Valentine and was slipping it under the door when it suddenly opened and bumped her, McCall said.

“She started crying” but appeared unhurt, McCall said.

The woman who had opened the door then slipped on the cards and other papers and fell down.

Another staffer came out and helped the woman up and back into the office, McCall said.

“She was completely conscious. She was fine,” McCall said.

McCall said police came and ushered everyone out of the private building.

No arrests were made, police said.

Rohrabacher, who was in Washington, D.C., at the time, said he was “outraged beyond words.”

“Deliberate or not, the incident came as part of a mob action” and the protesters “engaged in political thuggery, pure and simple,” he said.


12:05 p.m., Feb. 15: This article was edited to reflect conflicting accounts of what happened at the Tuesday protest.

This article was originally published at 10:15 p.m. on Feb. 14.