On the eve of the second anniversary of the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection, former Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone — who was brutally assaulted by a violent mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters — called on members of Congress to publicly condemn political violence.
“Tomorrow marks two years since the day I almost died defending the Capitol from people who thought overthrowing the government was a good idea,” Fanone said at a rally in Washington, D.C., Thursday. “The events of that day felt like a wake-up call for me and many others that political violence is real. The worst part is that our elected leaders allowed this to happen.”
Fanone, who suffered a heart attack as a result of his injuries, criticized Republican members of the new House majority — including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Matt Gaetz of Florida — for not only failing to condemn the violence but also encouraging it. Fanone also called out Rep.-elect Derrick Van Orden, R-Wis., who, as a civilian, breached police barricades with the insurrectionist mob.
On Wednesday, Fanone delivered a letter signed by over 1,000 veterans, active-duty service members and military family members to GOP House leadership demanding that they “condemn political violence in all its forms.”
“We cannot afford to brush political violence under the rug or turn a blind eye when others encourage it,” Fanone said Thursday at the event, which was organized by Courage for America, a group whose mission is to speak out against violent rhetoric.
“I spent a lot of time over the last two years thinking about what it means to be courageous and how I can best demonstrate courage,” he explained. “For me, being courageous means speaking out so my four daughters can live in a country without fear of political violence from the MAGA movement that's putting their futures at risk.”
The former police officer is among 12 people who will be honored by President Biden on Friday at a ceremony marking the two-year anniversary of the attack.
Fanone concluded his remarks Thursday with a message to recently elected officials and “the new speaker of the House, whoever the hell that ends up being.”
“You have this job because you promised to represent the people,” he said. “We, the people, are calling on you to condemn political violence as you take on your new roles.”
He added: “I will be watching and waiting for public statements from each and every one of you to do just that. Enough is enough.”