In an interview with CNN‘s Don Lemon, D.C. Metropolitan Police officer Michael Fanone, who suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was beaten with a flagpole by a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters when they stormed the United States Capitol on January 6, slammed former President Donald Trump and politicians who “whitewash” and “downplay” the seriousness of the Capitol riot.
“It’s been very difficult seeing elected officials and other individuals kind of whitewash the events that day, or downplay what happened,” Fanone, a 19-year veteran of the force, said after Lemon asked for a response to the ex-president’s claim that the insurrectionists posed “zero threat.” “Some of the terminology that was used, like ‘hugs and kisses,’ and ‘very fine people,’ is very different from what I experienced and what my co-workers experienced on the 6th.”
“I experienced a group of individuals that were trying to kill me to accomplish their goal,” he said. “I experienced the most brutal, savage, hand-to-hand combat of my entire life. Let alone my policing career, which spans almost two decades.”
Fanone did not mince words: “I want people to understand that thousands of rioters came to the Capitol hell-bent on violence and destruction and murder,” he said.
You can watch his interview below.
Officer Michael Fanone tells @donlemon it’s been very difficult to see elected officials whitewash what happened on Jan. 6.
He was stun-gunned several times and beaten with a flagpole during the Capitol attack.
Watch part 1 of his first in-depth interview: pic.twitter.com/4LzuJcfztl
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) April 28, 2021
Last month, Fanone’s mother, Terry Fanone, said she is outraged by Trump’s claim that his supporters were “hugging and kissing” officers during the attack.
“What goes through my mind is really outrage,” she told Don Lemon at the time. “For us, for our family, and for each and every police officer that I know that Michael’s in touch with constantly, it’s outrageous. It’s so dehumanizing. It’s so devaluing.”
“That doesn’t even begin to tell the story,” she continued, referring to her son’s description of what happened that day, which left him with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. “It doesn’t even begin to tell the story of what our family went through and what he went through that day.”
Trump insisted his supporters posed “zero threat” despite the violence that resulted in five deaths and many injuries.
“It was zero threat, right from the start, it was zero threat. Look, they went in, they shouldn’t have done it. Some of them went in, and they are hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know, they had great relationships,” Trump told Fox News‘ Laura Ingraham. “A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in and they walked out.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.