A Republican congressman “ran as quickly as he could, like a coward” when a police officer injured in the attack on Congress on 6 January saw him and tried to shake his hand, the officer said.
“I was very cordial,” Michael Fanone told CNN on Wednesday of his interaction with Andrew Clyde, in a Capitol elevator earlier that day.
Fanone, of the DC metropolitan police, was assaulted and injured after he rushed to help defend the Capitol from supporters of Donald Trump who rioted in service of his attempt to overturn his election defeat.
Fanone returned this week with a colleague from the US Capitol police, in an attempt to speak to Republicans including Clyde who voted against awarding the congressional gold medal to officers who defended the building.
When he saw the Georgia representative, Fanone said, he “extended my hand to shake his hand. He just stared at me. I asked if he was going to shake my hand, and he told me that he didn’t who know I was. So I introduced myself.
“I said that I was Officer Michael Fanone. That I was a DC Metropolitan police officer who fought on 6 January to defend the Capitol and, as a result, I suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as a heart attack after having been tased numerous times at the base of my skull, as well as being severely beaten.
“At that point, the congressman turned away from me.”
Fanone said Clyde “pulled out his cellphone and started thumbing through the apps”, apparently trying to record the encounter. Once the elevator doors opened, Fanone said, the congressman “ran as quickly as he could, like a coward”.
Clyde has not so far provided comment.
Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat, and the Illinois anti-Trump Republican Adam Kinzinger tweeted in support of Fanone.
Swalwell said: “To honour Trump, House Republicans will dishonour the police.”
Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, told CNN the congressional gold medal vote on Tuesday was “a new low” for the 21 Republicans who voted no.
“They voted to overturn an election,” he said. “But in their vote today, they kind of sealed the deal of basically affiliating with the mob. They now are part of the insurrectionist mob.”
Clyde made headlines in May when he told a congressional hearing many in that mob on 6 January behaved as if there for “a normal tourist visit”.
As the Washington Post reported, pictures taken as rioters searched for lawmakers to capture and kill showed Clyde rushing to barricade a door.