Brian Levin, director of Cal State San Bernardino's Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, said those who monitor hate groups have been bracing for this moment.
"I was never surprised," Levin said. "This didn't start with President Trump, but it's become a rocket ship since he's been in office."
Levin said violent extremism often flares up in times of change — like the inauguration of a new president — but said that he will also be closely watching what happens after Jan. 20.
"We know that times of transition, particularly around these catalytic political ones, are times of increased risk. The problem is President Trump is the highest transmitter in the land, and has been able to coalesce and galvanize something. So this period of time will be an inflection point," he said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that state officials are on “high alert” for any unrest in Sacramento and have a wide range of law enforcement agencies prepared to respond to any violence.
Orange County Democratic state Sen. Dave Min said state lawmakers were briefed on state Capitol security plans this week, and he’s confident in the measures. He noted that the Capitol complex is already closed to the public because of the pandemic.
"I'm not worried about my safety in Sacramento or in the Capitol, but of course, you worry about the rest of the country. You worry about cities, city halls, courts," he said. "We've seen an uprising of domestic terrorism. And certainly there are a lot of people right now at the national level that are fanning the flames of this."
Min, a former congressional staffer, said he was livid watching the insurrection unfold last week. He has since called for local and state prosecutors to investigate any Californians who participated in the violent attack — including a hairdresser from his district who posted videos online boasting about storming the Capitol.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer later stated that his office is working on an investigation into the assault and called on the public to share tips with the FBI.
Min said accountability is needed to send a clear message.