National Security

Capitol Police officer dismisses descriptions of Jan. 6 as a tour

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Aquilino Gonell dismissed the idea that Jan. 6, 2021 — the day a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 election — was a tour, as some lawmakers had suggested.

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Gonell was asked what he would tell people who were skeptical about the magnitude of the attack. 

“Well, those people, they never had talked to me about it. They never had like a minute or so, so I could tell them or show them my injuries. I could assure you that that was not a tour,” the police sergeant said. “And those people — that whoever assaulted me and my fellow officers, they should be in jail, not just — [they] were not the good guys during that day.”

Gonell said he was disappointed in lawmakers who said they were pro-law enforcement but instead sided with the rioters.

“It disappointed me that, like I was saying earlier, that instead of — they fill their mouth with ‘We back the blue’ or we are pro-law and order and the rule of law, and then they get a chance to hold these people accountable,” he said. 

“And yet they’re fighting for the Jan. 6 rioters and calling them patriots or political prisoners, but yet to them I think we are considered the bad guys of Jan. 6 because we stopped them from doing whatever they intended to do.”

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) made headlines last year after he compared the Capitol riot 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. “You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from Jan. 6, you’d think it was a normal tourist visit.”

Gonell, in contrast, said the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was far scarier than what he had experienced while he was deployed in Iraq.

Tags Andrew Clyde Aquilino Gonell Capitol police Capitol riot Jan. 6 hearings
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