Following his re-election and an assault on the United States Capitol Building by pro-Trump insurrectionaries, Santa Clarita Valley residents have taken issue with Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) blocking Twitter accounts criticizing his actions and his support for former President Donald Trump.
Since he has taken office, Garcia has caused controversy among Democratic voters, particularly for his support of former President Trump. Garcia joined the 121 House Republicans who disputed the tallies from the electoral college votes in Arizona and the 138 House Republicans who disputed the tallies in Pennsylvania. Garcia argued there was enough evidence of foul play to warrant “further examination.”
Sage Rafferty, a U.S. Army veteran and former Saugus Union School District Board candidate, didn’t realize he was blocked by Garcia’s campaign Twitter account until a friend retweeted Garcia and he did not have viewing ability.
“I am active in local Democratic politics,” Rafferty said. “I feel that Mike Garcia has tried to subvert democracy when he voted to nullify votes. I appreciate he’s a fellow veteran, but he can’t hide behind that to make up for complacency in the Jan. 6 riots.”
Before being blocked, Rafferty said he replied to Garcia’s tweets openly.
Fellow CA-25 constituent Raagib Quraishi said after he found out he had been blocked, he was disappointed. Quarishi explained that being a citizen of the 25th District, representatives should be open to the population’s opinions.
“As a representative, you should be able to meet with your constituents and listen to them,” Qurarishi stated. “So far Garcia has yet to hold an open town hall or forum. He picks and chooses what questions get picked and answered.”
Quarishi found out he was blocked by Garcia’s campaign Twitter only after he found out other friends had been blocked as well.
“I think [Garcia] thinks it’s fair to block everyone because of his vote certifying the votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania,” Quarishi said. “He never gave a fair answer as to why he voted that way.”
Garcia explained in a statement that the voter count must be fully examined to protect the rights of the American people. He also condemned the attack on the United States Capitol, adding that the “perpetrators inside the Capitol should be held accountable and prosecuted.”
“We must remember, the presidency belongs not to Congress, it belongs to the American people. However, when threats of fraud arise regarding the results of the election, per the laws written in the Constitution, America’s elected Congressional representatives must ensure that any uncertainty is resolved,” Garcia wrote in his statement.
Kat Walker, a single mother and Newhall resident, was also blocked by Garcia’s campaign Twitter account. Walker stated that she is an active community activist and was saddened by Garcia’s actions.
“I’ve never posted anything threatening towards him,” she said. “However, I have posted that I disagree with him. He broke his oath to the constitution on Jan. 6 by supporting sedition. I find that to be a traitorous act.”
Much like Quarishi, Walker only noticed the blocking after another constituent informed her people were being blocked.
Rafferty, Quarishi and Walker are among less than a dozen CA-25 constituents known to The Proclaimer who claim to be blocked from viewing tweets on Garcia’s campaign Twitter account.
Garcia’s staff did not respond following multiple requests for comment.
Blocking constituents on Twitter has led to legal troubles for some lawmakers, including the former president. Trump was sued by the Knight First Amendment Institute last July after he blocked Twitter users from seeing his personal account. He allegedly did not unblock those users before his inauguration and was subsequently ordered to unblock them following a 2018 decision “on the grounds that cutting people off from important policy announcements for things they tweeted was a violation of their free speech,” according to Politico.
Similarly, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) faced a lawsuit last month after allegedly blocking a former Democratic state lawmaker. The lawsuit, which asked for Boebert to unblock the former lawmaker, followed a brief suspension of her account after she shared claims of voter fraud regarding the 2020 election.
In 2019, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) apologized to a Twitter user, a former Brooklyn assemblyman, after she agreed to settle on a First Amendment lawsuit issued by the user who claimed Ocasio-Cortez blocked him. This occurred days after a federal appeals court set a precedent where any elected official was liable to be found guilty of violating a constituent’s First Amendment rights if he/she blocked the constituent on social media.