Jun 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

GOP lawmaker refuses to shake hand of officer who protected Capitol on Jan. 6

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) on Wednesday refused to shake hands with D.C. police officer Michael Fanone, who suffered a heart attack and traumatic brain injury after he was assaulted while protecting the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot, Fanone told CNN.

Why it matters: Clyde is among the 21 Republicans who voted against awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to officers who defended the Capitol during the riot.

Driving the news: Fanone returned to the Capitol Wednesday looking to share his story with those members, and told the Post that he recognized Clyde in an elevator.

  • Fanone said the Republican congressman refused to shake his hand even after he introduced himself as an officer who "fought to defend the Capitol on Jan. 6," and described being beaten until he was unconscious.
  • "His response was nothing,” Fanone told the Post. “He turned away from me, pulled out his cellphone and started thumbing through the apps.”
  • "As soon as the elevator doors opened, he ran as quickly as he could like a coward," Fanone told CNN.

The big picture: The Georgia Republican has tried to downplay the events of that day by likening the mob at the Capitol to tourists.

  • "There was no insurrection. To call it an insurrection is a bold-faced lie," Clyde said in May.
  • "Congressman Clyde has made some pretty incendiary remarks downplaying the event. And downplaying is disingenuous. He just out and out lied," Fanone told CNN.

What they're saying: “Every now and again I think we have to be at the bottom of how low we can get,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told the Post. "You don’t have to admit you should have voted for [the Gold Medal] by shaking a guy’s hand. The presence of these heroes can make some people uncomfortable.”

Go deeper: Cheney slams GOP Rep. Gosar for saying Capitol Police officer "executed" Capitol rioter

Go deeper