Michael Fanone, a D.C. police officer who was repeatedly beaten and electroshocked by the insurrectionist mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, called Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) a “coward” on CNN Wednesday for refusing to face him about the ordeal.
Clyde famously tried to characterize the deadly riot as “a normal tourist visit,” even though he was pictured on Jan. 6 trying to barricade a door to the House gallery. He was one of 21 House Republicans who on Tuesday voted against awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to all police officers who responded to the insurrection.
Fanone visited Capitol Hill Wednesday in an effort to speak with those lawmakers and educate them on what he and his colleagues experienced, he told CNN’s Don Lemon.
He said he ran into Clyde while he was there and tried to introduce himself in an elevator.
“I was very cordial. I extended my hand to shake his hand. He just stared at me. I asked him if he was going to shake my hand and he told me that he didn’t know who know I was,” he said.
“So I introduced myself. I said that I was Officer Michael Fanone, that I was a D.C. Metropolitan police officer who fought on January 6th 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.”
At that point, Clyde turned away from him and pulled out his cellphone, Fanone said. He said Clyde did not acknowledge him at any point and then “as soon as the elevator doors opened, he ran as quickly as he could like a coward.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) had tweeted about the incident earlier in the day, accusing House Republicans of dishonoring police in order to honor former President Donald Trump.
Clyde did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment about the interaction.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), one of the few Republicans willing to condemn Trump’s 2020 election lies, also highlighted the exchange, calling it “incredible.”
“Every now and again I think, we have to be at the bottom of how low we can get,” Kinzinger told the Washington Post after the incident. “You don’t have to admit you should have voted for [the Gold Medal] by shaking a guy’s hand. The presence of these heroes can make some people uncomfortable.”
Fanone, who was the subject of a viral video from the riot, has since become an unofficial spokesperson against lawmakers who seek to rewrite history and downplay what happened on Jan. 6.
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