Michael Fanone, a D.C. Metropolitan Police officer who was injured while defending the Capitol during the insurrection on Jan. 6, is calling out Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., for giving the metaphorical “middle finger” to those who bravely served their country that day.
Fanone appeared on CNN’s “Don Lemon Tonight” on Wednesday evening to discuss an encounter he had with the lawmaker while visiting Capitol Hill earlier the same day.
Fanone said he was touring the Capitol earlier Wednesday in an attempt to set up meetings with any of the 21 Republicans who on Tuesday voted against the House bill that would give congressional medals of honor to Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police to thank them for their service that day. Clyde was one of the Republicans who voted against the bill.
Dozens of those officers suffered injuries, including chemical burns, brain injuries and broken bones. Some may never return to work.
Fanone himself was severely beaten during the insurrection, telling Don Lemon he suffers from a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder after being shocked numerous times in the head with a stun gun by a violent mob.
While Fanone wasn’t able to officially meet with any of the representatives, he said he ran into Rep. Clyde on an elevator, and attempted to shake his hand.
“I was very cordial,” Fanone said of the encounter. “I extended my hand to shake his hand. He just stared at me. I asked if he was going to shake my hand, and he told me that he didn't know who I was. So I introduced myself.
“I said that I was Officer Michael Fanone,” he continued. “That I was a D.C. Metropolitan Police officer who fought on January 6 to defend the Capitol and, as a result, I suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as a heart attack after having been tased numerous times at the base of my skull, as well as being severely beaten.”
After introducing himself, Fanone said the Congressman refused to acknowledge him further, saying once the elevator doors opened, Clyde “ran as quickly as he could, like a coward.”
“I took that particular interaction very personally, but I also took it as a representation of Andrew Clyde giving the middle finger to myself and every other member of the Metropolitan Police Department and U.S. Capitol Police that responded that day,” Fanone said.
Fanone adds that he felt especially compelled to confront Clyde because of the lawmaker’s “incendiary remarks” regarding the events of Jan. 6.
Clyde has been one of the most outspoken members of Congress attempting to downplay or skew the events of the insurrection. During a House Oversight Committee hearing in May, he likened the events to a “normal tourist visit.”
“Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol, and walk through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures … If you didn't know that TV footage was a video from January the sixth, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit,” Clyde said in part.
Clyde’s remarks are a stark contrast to the accounts of other lawmakers, police officers and video taken of the event. Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against those who breached the Capitol that day, and at least five people died during or soon after the attack.
On CNN’s broadcast, Lemon showed a photo of Clyde himself attempting to barricade the doors leading to the House floor as rioters invaded the Capitol.
Spectrum News has reached out to Rep. Clyde’s office for comment.
he Associated Press contributed to this report.