Police break up fracas at Southern California Republican meeting

Police have been called in after a group of Tories wearing orange shirts that read ‘RINO hunters’, with a crosshair making an ‘O’ target, attempted to storm a Party meeting Orange County Republican in Costa Mesa Monday night.

The group was led by Nick Taurus, a self-proclaimed American nationalist who last year led a protest at a town hall for Rep. Katie Porter, D-Irvine, which turned violent. After a provocation by the Taurus group, a Porter supporter threw a punch and was arrested.

Taurus, R-Laguna Hills, is now challenging GOP Rep. Young Kim in the CA-40 House race. He is labeled Kim, who has been approved by OCGOP as RINO, a derogatory name used by the far right for more moderate politicians they deem “Republicans in name only”.

The clash reflects a growing schism within the Republican Party, pitting those pushing to elect GOP candidates in purple areas like Orange County against those on the far right, who remain staunchly loyal to the former President Donald Trump.

The party said on January 12 that due to the coronavirus outbreak, attendance at Monday night’s OCGOP meeting – which aimed to endorse candidates for the 2022 election cycle – would be limited to Central Committee members. due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“There are important requests for approval that need to be voted on, but we recognize the surge in covid cases in Orange County,” the announcement read. “It’s important that we as a party take care of business, but we also need to take care of ourselves and each other.”

But some local Republicans disagreed with that decision.

Photos and videos shared on social media show a few dozen people wearing orange RINO shirts in the lobby of the building where the meeting was being held. A witness told the log that a member tried to push people to the door, grabbing the handle to enter. The police are then seen leading the protesters outside, while other people are greeted and allowed to enter the meeting room.

Once outside, Taurus is seen in videos, wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, arguing with Latino GOP activist Jesse Suave over amnesty for undocumented immigrants. Supporters of Taurus and Suave engaged in verbal clashes, with shouting to “back up the f—up” and saying “what are you gonna do?”

Costa Mesa police said they were called into the meeting at 6:39 p.m. Monday after learning that a group of about 20 protesters refused to leave the “private political meeting,” according to department spokeswoman Roxi Fyad. Officers contacted the protesters, told them to take him to the sidewalk, and they complied, Fyad said.

No one was detained, she said, and police were unaware of any physical altercations.

A county GOP spokesperson offered a written statement that included this:

“The Costa Mesa Police Department was called when (a) group continued to disrupt our meeting and venue activities.

“As a party, we welcome a healthy debate of ideas. This cannot happen in the way these people behaved. The safety of our members, guests and staff is of utmost importance to our organization. »

Taurus has been involved in multiple protests that have turned physical in the past, including free speech rallies at Cal State Fullerton and Orange Coast College in 2017. Videos circulating on social media also show him disrupting a protest 2020 Racial Justice Day at Yorba Linda. In this video, he is seen stealing and tearing up someone’s Black Lives Matter sign. His social media posts tout conspiracy theories about the Clinton family, the “gay mafia” and “anti-white racism.”

After the incident at Porter’s town hall, Taurus said in an Instagram Live video that someone from the Orange County Republican Party sent an invitation to his group to attend the Democrat’s town hall and “press” Porter on what she was doing to help the 45th Eastern OC. Piece. Now, Taurus said via social media, his group is banned by the same party.

Brian Burley, an OCGOP Central Committee member running against Porter in the new 47th District, said the crowd was loud but quiet when he entered the meeting. He said he never had any security concerns and everyone was gone by the time he left at 9.45pm.

Burley had asked party chairman Fred Whitaker in a Jan. 5 public letter to postpone the approval meeting after the death of party leader Kelly Ernby. He clashed with Whitaker last election cycle, when he faced Michelle Steel in the CA-48 race, over which party made the first endorsements of establishment candidates.

Ernby had planned to run for the 72nd Assembly District before his death earlier this month from COVID-19. On Monday night, OCGOP endorsed Diane Dixon for the seat.

Editor Eric Licas contributed to this report.

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