DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone told House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday that he should denounce conspiracies spread by Republican lawmakers about the January 6 insurrection and publicly condemn the 21 House Republicans who voted against awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to officers who defended the Capitol.
Fanone, who was badly injured on January 6 and has been on a mission to meet with Republicans in the aftermath of the attack, met with McCarthy on Friday afternoon and indicated he was not satisfied with the GOP leader’s response, saying that McCarthy told him he would address the matter privately with those members.
“I asked him specifically for a commitment to denounce that publicly. And he said that he would address it at a personal level, with some of those members. But again, I think that as a leader of the House Republican, or I’m sorry, as the leader of the House Republican Party, it’s important to hear those denouncements publicly,” he said.
Fanone was joined by US Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn, who also defended the Capitol during the insurrection. The meeting comes as a number of House Republicans have attempted to downplay or distort the facts of what took place on January 6 when former President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election triggered a deadly attack on the Capitol by a violent pro-Trump mob.
Fanone said after the meeting that he specifically asked McCarthy to denounce GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde’s recent comments that January 6 was like a “normal tourist visit,” saying that he “found those remarks to be disgusting.”
He also asked McCarthy to denounce the baseless conspiracy theory that the FBI was behind the January 6 attack. “The FBI is the best investigative agency that we have in this country, and I think that members that are espousing, as well as members of the media, that are espousing those remarks are disgusting,” he said.
Asked how McCarthy responded when he brought up the FBI conspiracy theory, Fanone said: “I don’t remember if he had a specific response to that or not. He’s a good politician.”
With regard to the House select committee to investigate the attack that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced will be established, Fanone said he asked McCarthy “for a commitment not to put obstructionists and the wrong people in that position.”
Dunn and Fanone both said that McCarthy “committed to taking it seriously.”
McCarthy did not commit to not put GOP members who are spreading conspiracies or minimizing January 6 onto the House select committee when asked at his weekly news conference earlier on Friday, however. “I haven’t seen the structure,” the California Republican said, adding, “so I won’t make any commitment ‘til I go there.”
At the same press conference, McCarthy sidestepped when asked about conspiracies about January 6 promoted by some House Republicans and whether any have been sternly lectured about their behavior. “What I talk to my members is what I talk to my members personally about,” he said.
When Fanone walked out of the meeting, the first thing he said was, “I need a drink.” Asked later why he said that, Fanone said: “This is not something I enjoy doing … But I see this as an extension of my service on January 6.”
He said he would like other officers to come forward with their accounts of January 6. “I’m actually tired of hearing my own voice, with regard to this. I would like some other officers to come forward. I mean, that’s really been one of my main objectives here is to give all the officers a voice or an opportunity to, you know, let their voice be heard with regard to their experience on January 6th. “
“In a lot of ways, this experience has been incredibly isolating,” he said.
Fanone, who was stun-gunned several times and beaten with a flagpole during the riot, had previously made several attempts to meet with the California Republican to discuss the insurrection, according to Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell. On Twitter last month, Swalwell said that Fanone was “very upset” about having not yet secured a meeting with McCarthy.
Republicans, including McCarthy, have largely opposed efforts to examine the circumstances of the insurrection, drawing intense criticism from Fanone and several other police officers who were there.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Friday that the chamber will consider a resolution establishing the select committee next week. It is likely to closely examine the role Trump played in the lead up to the attack, in which the former President spread lies about the 2020 election being stolen from him. But the panel could also look at the role that some House members played, including McCarthy’s conversations with Trump as the riot was unfolding.
McCarthy said Friday ahead of his meeting with Fanone that he has “no problem talking to anybody about” his conversation with Trump on January 6 when asked by CNN if he would speak to the committee about the call.
Fanone suffered a heart attack and a concussion during the insurrection and is dealing with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Last week, Fanone blasted Clyde for what he called “disgusting” behavior during a tense exchange in the Capitol. The officer said Clyde, who was one of 21 House Republicans who voted against legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the officers who had defended the Capitol, refused to shake his hand after he introduced himself as one of the DC officers who was injured in the attack.
This story and headline have been updated with additional developments Friday.
CNN’s Ryan Nobles, Kristin Wilson, Morgan Rimmer, Devan Cole, Jeremy Herb and Paul Leblanc contributed to this report.