A D.C. Metropolitan Police officer who was badly injured during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol met with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyOvernight Hillicon Valley — Scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens Top Democrats tout California recall with an eye toward 2022 Former national security officials warn antitrust bills could help China in tech race MORE (Calif.) on Friday, and pressed the GOP leader on a number of controversies in his party related to the deadly insurrection.
Officer Michael Fanone said McCarthy’s responses were unsatisfactory and labeled him a “good politician.”
“I asked Kevin to denounce the 21 House Republicans that voted against the Gold Medal bill, which would recognize and honor my co-workers and colleagues that fought to secure the Capitol on Jan. 6,” Fanone told reporters after the hourlong meeting in the Capitol. “I also asked him to denounce [Rep.] Andrew Clyde’s [R-Ga.] statements regarding Jan. 6, specifically that it was something of a normal tour day here at the Capitol. I found those remarks to be disgusting.
“I also asked him to publicly denounce the baseless theory that the FBI was behind the Jan. 6 insurrection.”
Asked if McCarthy had, in fact, denounced those three things, Fanone replied: “Not in my mind, no.”
“I asked him specifically for a commitment to denounce that publicly and he said that he would address it at a personal level with some of those members,” Fanone added. “But again, I think that as the leader of the House Republican Party, it's important to hear those denouncements publicly.”
Fanone, who was joined in the meeting by Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, had been pressing for months for a sit-down meeting with McCarthy to discuss the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob that injured 140 Capitol Police and D.C. Metro officers and led to the deaths of three officers, including 42-year-old Brian Sicknick.
It’s unclear why McCarthy finally agreed to meet with Fanone on Friday, but Democrats in recent days had portrayed the GOP as anti-police after 21 House Republicans voted against legislation awarding Congressional Gold Medals to police officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Fanone nearly lost his life that day. After his unit arrived at the Capitol, rioters tased him multiple times, dragged him into the mob and beat him with a flag pole. He pleaded with the rioters, telling them that he had children, and suffered a heart attack and concussion from the violent beating.
“I need a drink,” Fanone said as he stepped out of McCarthy’s office and into the hallway.
Later, he spoke about the personal and emotional toll the attack has taken on him, his colleagues and his family: “This experience for me is, you know, this is not something that I enjoy doing. I don't want to be up here on Capitol Hill. I want to be with my daughters. But I see this as an extension of my service on January 6.
“So many of my coworkers and colleagues like Harry are still at work, still doing the job, still fulfilling their oath, and so I'm trying to do the best job that I can to fulfill mine, and to support them.”
Fanone then choked up and for several seconds struggled to gain his composure.
The officers’ meeting with McCarthy came one day after Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week Stefanik in ad says Democrats want 'permanent election insurrection' MORE (D-Calif.) announced that Democrats will create a special select committee to investigate the events surrounding Jan. 6. Fanone, Dunn and Sicknick’s mother earlier had tried to lobby GOP senators to back a House-passed bill establishing an independent 9/11-style commission but the legislation fell three GOP votes short of breaking a Senate GOP filibuster.
After the House votes next week to approve the special Jan. 6 commission, both Pelosi and McCarthy will have the power to appoint panel members.
Fanone said he also pressed McCarthy not to tap Republicans like Clyde who have denied a violent and armed insurrection took place at the Capitol.
“I asked him for commitment not to put obstructionists and, you know, the wrong people in that position,” Fanone said. “If I remember correctly, he committed to taking it seriously.”