A Washington police officer who suffered a heart attack and a brain injury after being beaten by Trump supporters during the deadly Capitol attack emerged from meeting House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday to tell reporters: “I need a drink.”
“This experience for me is not something that I enjoy doing,” Michael Fanone said. “I don’t want to be up here on Capitol Hill. I want to be with my daughters.”
Ten Republicans in the House voted to impeach Donald Trump for inciting the attack on 6 January. But Trump was acquitted in the Senate and under McCarthy the House caucus has remained in line behind the former president and his lie that his defeat by Joe Biden was the result of electoral fraud.
Fanone, of the Washington Metropolitan police, rushed to the Capitol when the mob attacked. Beaten and hit with a stun gun, he has since become a leading voice seeking accountability.
He visited McCarthy on Friday with Harry Dunn, a member of the US Capitol police, and Gladys Sicknick, the mother of Brian Sicknick, a Capitol police officer who died after the attack.
Fanone said he asked the minority leader to “denounce the 21 House Republicans that voted against the gold medal bill”, a move by Congress to recognise the bravery of those who fought to defend it.
He also said he asked McCarthy to publicly disavow a comment by Andrew Clyde, a congressman from Georgia who claimed the mob were as well-behaved as tourists.
“I found those remarks to be disgusting,” said Fanone, who said earlier this month Clyde refused to talk to him when confronted on Capitol Hill.
“I also asked [McCarthy] to publicly denounce the baseless theory that the FBI was behind the 6 January insurrection,” Fanone said.
Tucker Carlson, a primetime Fox News host, is among those who have spread that conspiracy theory.
McCarthy “said he would address it at a personal level, with some of those members,” Fanone said. “I think that as the leader of the House Republican party, it’s important to hear those denouncements publicly.”
McCarthy did not comment. Earlier in the week, the minority leader said Fanone had not attempted to schedule a meeting. Fanone said that was “bullshit”.
Some rioters sought lawmakers, including then Vice-President Mike Pence, to capture or kill. Some brought weapons and explosives to Washington. This week the attorney general, Merrick Garland, said 500 people have been arrested. Christopher Wray, the FBI director, said there are “hundreds more investigations still ongoing”.
Nonetheless, last month Senate Republicans blocked the formation of an independent, 9/11-style investigatory commission. On Thursday Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House speaker, said she would form a select committee.
Dunn told reporters McCarthy “did commit to taking [the committee] serious, once he heard from the speaker about it”.
Fanone said he saw his efforts “as an extension of my service on 6 January”.