Two congressmen said Wednesday that Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) refused to shake the hand of a Washington, D.C., police officer who was beaten by members of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Clyde, who last month tried to downplay the deadly riot as something akin to “a normal tourist visit,” was one of 21 House Republicans who on Tuesday voted against awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to all police officers who responded to the insurrection.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) said that D.C. police officer Michael Fanone ran into Clyde at the Capitol on Wednesday, introduced himself as “someone who fought to defend the Capitol” and put out his hand.
“Clyde refused to shake it. To honor Trump, [House Republicans] will dishonor the police,” Swalwell tweeted.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, said he had called Fanone and confirmed the story. “This really is incredible,” Kinzinger said.
Clyde’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fanone suffered a heart attack and concussion after he was repeatedly shocked with a stun gun and beaten with pipes by supporters of former President Donald Trump at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
In the months since, he’s spoken out on multiple occasions against politicians who have sought to rewrite history and deny facts about the brutal events he experienced that day.
“It’s been very difficult seeing elected officials … whitewash the events that day, or downplay what happened,” he said in April. “I experienced the most brutal, savage, hand-to-hand combat of my entire life. Let alone my policing career, which spans almost two decades.”
Kinzinger, one of only a handful of Republicans to denounce Trump’s efforts to overthrow the 2020 election, told The Washington Post on Wednesday it was terrible that police who risked their lives don’t have the support of some of the people they were protecting.
“Every now and again I think, we have to be at the bottom of how low we can get,” Kinzinger 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.”
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