Michael Fanone is a Washington DC Metropolitan Police officer who has served on the Metropolitan Police force for nearly two decades. He was “inspired to serve in law enforcement after the attacks of September 11, 2001.”
On January 6, 2021, Fanone was one of 850 DC police officers who responded as rioters attacked the U.S. Capitol intent on stopping Congressional proceedings to officially certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Andrew Clyde is a Georgia U.S. Representative, a combat veteran who served in the U.S. Navy for 28 years.
On January 6, Clyde was one of the Republican members of the joint session of Congress intent on contesting the results of the presidential election in a series of ridiculous and false objections alleging widespread voter fraud.
While the debate was proceeding, police officer Fanone – protecting Congressman Clyde’s right to object — was being viciously assaulted, severely beaten and tased. He remembers rioters chanting, “Kill him with his own gun,” and pleading for his life by appealing to their humanity. “I have kids,” Fanona implored.
As a result of the assaults, officer Fanone suffered a heart attack, concussion, and is dealing with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Despite the heroic actions by Fanone and fellow officers, the insurrectionists breached the Capitol forcing the proceedings to be suspended and the building to go into lockdown.
While officer Fanone was most likely getting medical attention, Congressman Clyde was seen rushing to help barricade the House chamber door (below) against those he would eventually refer to as participating in just a “normal tourist visit,” behaving “in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures.”
After the Capitol was finally secured, Congress reconvened to continue with the debate and count.
Even after the dastardly attack on the Capitol, on democracy itself, Clyde was one of 120 Republican representatives who voted against certifying election results in two key states.
In the months since, officer Fanone has gone on to become one of the leading voices pushing back against Republicans who have sought to deny, obfuscate or downplay what really happened on January 6.
In the months since, Congressman Clyde has gone on to deny, whitewash, misrepresent the facts of the January 6 insurrection, even to the point of refusing to honor the brave officers who defended his right to disagree and who protected him.
He is one of 175 Republican Congressmen who voted “No” on a National Commission to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol Complex Act.
He is one of 12 House Republicans who voted “No” on a resolution to award Congressional Gold Medals to the agencies that played a role in protecting the Capitol during its storming on January 6.
He is one of 21 House Republicans who voted “No” on legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the officers who defended the Capitol.
The two men would finally meet in a Capitol Hill elevator when officer Fanone returned once again to the Capitol, this time to meet Republicans, including Congressman Clyde, who had voted against awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to officers who had defended them on January 6 — to tell “his story.”
It did not go well.
During the brief encounter, the man whose safety and rights to dissent had been protected by 850 brave men and women of the Metropolitan Capitol Police, refused to shake hands with one of those heroes.
Even after identifying himself and telling Clyde that he was one of the officers who fought to defend the Capitol on January 6, and of being attacked and injured, Congressman Clyde’s response was “nothing,” according to Fanone. He addds, “He turned away from me, pulled out his cellphone and started thumbing through the apps….” When the elevator doors opened, Clyde “bolted,” Fanone says.
Former Rep. Denver Riggleman, who became friends with Fanone after the Jan. 6 attack, tells PEOPLE:
It’s hard to understand why elected representatives won’t shake the hand of an individual who got dragged, beaten and had a heart attack while there to protect them.
Just as it is hard to understand why Republicans are now casting the FBI as a co-conspirator in the January 6 tragedy.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.