During an appearance on CNN this week, D.C. police officer Michael Fanone — who was among those defending the Capitol against rioting Trump supporters on January 6 and was injured in the process — spoke out against the violent rhetoric that former President Trump and his allies have continued to spread throughout recent months. Fanone made his remarks in the context of a discussion about Fi Duong, a Capitol rioter who, in the aftermath of the attack on Congress, worked with a small group to conduct surveillance of the U.S. Capitol and stockpile weapons. Fanone observed that individuals like Duong “continue to be inspired by political rhetoric that’s being utilized by the former president and his supporters.” In other words, the threat posed by Trump’s extremism hasn’t vanished.
The “violent political rhetoric” like that which Trump has pushed “needs to stop,” Fanone bluntly insisted. As Fanone first put it, discussing Duong’s case and related issues:
‘I think it shows, just based on weapons that were recovered from this individual, as well as some of the plots and planning that took place, that there is an organizational factor in the severity of the individuals who participated in the January 6 insurrection. Obviously they continue to be inspired by political rhetoric that’s being utilized by the former president and his supporters, and it speaks to how dangerous that really is in this country.’
Fanone also addressed Republicans’ willingness to rhetorically abandon law enforcement personnel, many of whom were seriously injured during Trump supporters’ attack on the Capitol. Instead of working to provide answers for injured officers and their families — and accountability for those who directly inspired the violence — Republicans have opted to evade facing the facts of what happened. As Fanone put it:
‘Law enforcement has been taking it on the chin for quite some time, and our community sees the complete lack of support and abandonment now, not just from members of police-reform or traditional communities that had issues with law enforcement, but now also members of the Republican Party — who traditionally espouse support for law enforcement — no longer seem to support our department, simply because of the January 6 insurrection.’
Fanone added as follows:
‘What’s been most difficult for me is, post-January 6, seeing people downplay or just lie about the events of that day, especially for political purposes or for their own personal gain… I remember how outraged I was when I saw Rep. [Andrew] Clyde [(R-Ga.)] and some of his colleagues make statements regarding January 6 as being an insignificant day… It’s clear to me that this violent political rhetoric, which continues to this day unfortunately… I experienced firsthand an insurrection inspired by the head of our executive branch… Donald Trump, and his co-workers. It needs to stop.’
Watch Fanone’s remarks, in two parts, below: