Fanone hammers Republicans who mischaracterise events of riot
Capitol Police officer Michael Fanone used part of his testimony before the House select panel investigating the 6 January attack on the Capitol to sharply criticise some Republican lawmakers who have made misleading or outright false statements about the siege.
During his remarks before the committee on Tuesday, Mr Fanone said that those lawmakers who have made false statements about the events of that day have betrayed their oath of office.
The remarks were particularly scathing given that Mr Fanone is assigned to protect the very lawmakers he tore into during the hearing. Other Capitol Police officers around the complex were glued to TV screens showing the hearing on Tuesday as it unfolded, social media posts have shown.
“The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful”, said Mr Fanone. “Nothing, truly nothing, has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day, and in doing so, betray their oath of office”.
“What makes the struggle harder and more painful is to know so many of my fellow citizens, including so many of the people I put my life at risk to defend, are downplaying or outright denying what happened”, the officer continued.
Other officers echoed Mr Fanone’s disgust with Republican lawmakers.
Sgt Aquilino Gonell was asked by Rep Liz Cheney, herself a Republican, about former President Donald Trump’s own lies about the riotous mob that swarmed the Capitol, which he claimed were “zero threat” and “hugging and kissing the police and guards” in March.
“It’s upsetting, it’s a pathetic excuse for his behaviour, for something that he himself helped to create”, said Sgt Gonell, who added: “I’m still recovering from those hugs and kisses that day”.
“To me, it’s insulting, it’s demoralizing”, Sgt Gonell continued, “because everything that we did was to prevent everyone in the Capitol from getting hurt. What he was doing, instead of sending the military, instead of sending the support or telling his people, his supporters to stop this nonsense, he egged them to continue fighting”.
“It’s pathetic and they shouldn’t be elected officials anymore”, he said of other Republicans who have made similar claims.
Some Republicans in the House and Senate have sought to downplay the violence that occurred when rioters stormed the Capitol. Congressman Andrew Clyde claimed that videos of the 6 January attack looked like footage of “tourists” in the Capitol.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pulled his picks for the 6 January panel after Reps Jim Banks and Jim Jordan’s nominations were rejected by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and as a result just two Republicans nominated by the speaker chose to serve on the commission.
Republicans have denounced the hearings as a political operation despite declining to support legislation earlier this year that would have given GOP leadership far more control over membership of the committee.