In a scene that illustrated Orange County’s relatively recent swing from red to blue, demonstrators divided over the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump gathered Friday outside a congressional field office in Irvine.
Armed with megaphones and signs, the two sides shouted opposing ideology representative of the county’s divide outside Democratic Rep. Katie Porter’s district headquarters.
“Katie Porter’s got to go,” Trump supporters chanted in reference to the congressional freshman who helped turn the once-Republican stronghold Democratic in the midterm elections.
“Lock him up” chants came from across the street.
Though heated, the event was peaceful.
Each side drew about 40 demonstrators. Those on the Trump side held American and “Trump 2020" flags, and signs that read “In God and Trump we Trust” and “Democrats for Trump.”
The president’s opponents hoisted a large “Impeach Trump” sign.
Trump Victory, a fundraising group, organized the rally in an effort to put pressure on freshmen members of Congress from Orange County who supported the impeachment investigation.
The inquiry centers on Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during which Trump asked him to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a possible rival in the 2020 presidential election.
“The goal is to cause chaos for Democrats who abandoned what they said they were going to do,” said Samantha Zager, regional communications director for Trump Victory.
Sayre Weaver voiced support for the impeachment inquiry
“I think the inquiry is moving forward and we are finding out everyday why it’s good that it’s moving forward,” said Weaver, 67, of Laguna Woods.
Former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose, a 2016 California Trump chairman, said the Democrats singled out by the demonstrators had all promised bipartisanship during their campaigns. He argued that their support of the impeachment proceedings conflicted with those pledges..
“Out here we have real issues,” Ose said, referring to homelessness and immigration reform.
Meanwhile, across the street, anti-Trump demonstrators chanted over megaphones: “Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go.”
Maria Minney, a member of Indivisible OC 45, a Democratic group named for the area’s Congressional district, organized the counter-demonstration to show support for Porter.
“We appreciate her courage for coming out for impeachment,” said Minney, 48, of Irvine.
Porter issued a statement shortly after the event.
“Our office belongs to the people of the 45th District,” she said. “I welcome people to make their voices heard, especially when we may disagree.
“Our office met with everyone today who wanted to chat, and we were happy to share with them how we’re working to lower prescription drug prices, promote tax fairness, and address gun violence.”
Trump supporter George Lee said he considered the impeachment efforts illegal, arguing that he sees no wrongdoing in the president seeking information about a political rival.
“I think for over two and a half years, Democrats didn’t stop witch-hunting for this president,” said Lee, 50, of Irvine. “They are always trying to harass this president and it doesn’t hold.”
Sandra Masino, who declined to give her age, said the Democrats are just using the phone call to Ukraine as an excuse to start proceedings against Trump.
“They failed at everything else — they never wanted him to be president,” the Costa Mesa resident said.