On Wednesday evening, a DC Metropolitan Police officer who defended the US Capitol on January 6 slammed GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde for “disgusting” behavior during a tense exchange.
During the riot, Michael Fanone, who was repeatedly stun-gunned and beaten with a flagpole, told CNN’s Don Lemon on “Don Lemon Tonight” that he ran into Clyde in the Capitol and was dismissed by the congressman after approaching him outside an elevator on Wednesday afternoon.
After 21 House Republicans, including Clyde, voted against legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the officers who defended the Capitol, Fanone’s account was published.
The officer’s visit to Capitol Hill was prompted by the vote, which served as yet another reminder that members of Congress are still unable to agree on the facts surrounding the deadly January 6 riot.
“I was very cordial. I extended my hand to shake his hand. He just stared at me. I asked if he was going to shake my hand, and he told me that he didn’t who know I was. So I introduced myself. I said that I was Officer Michael Fanone. That I was a DC Metropolitan Police officer who fought on January 6 to defend the Capitol and, as a result, I suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as a heart attack after having been tased numerous times at the base of my skull, as well as being severely beaten,” Fanone said. “At that point, the congressman turned away from me.”
When the elevator doors opened, the congressman “ran as fast as he could, like a coward,” according to Fanone.
Clyde’s office did not respond to CNN’s request for comment right away. Previously, the congressman refused to answer questions from CNN about why he voted against the Congressional Gold Medal bill.
Clyde, a Georgia Republican, has tried to minimize the Capitol riot and exaggerate the actions of former President Donald Trump and his supporters on numerous occasions. Clyde said that while there was an “undisciplined mob” and “some who committed acts of vandalism,” many were behaving orderly, comparing them to a “normal tourist visit.”
“Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures,” Clyde said at the hearing. “You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”
His false account contradicts reams of video evidence from the January 6th violence, criminal charges filed against participants, testimony from law enforcement officials, police officers’ accounts of the violence, and lawmakers’ descriptions of the fear they felt that day.
During the insurgency, Fanone suffered a heart attack and a concussion, as well as a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
He said Wednesday evening that he took Clyde’s interaction with him “very personally,” and that he saw it as an insult to not only himself, but to all law enforcement officers who responded to the Capitol on January 6.