A member of the Capitol Police is very unhappy with former Vice President Mike Pence for brushing off the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, going as far as to call Pence “pathetic,” and “a disgrace.”
Sergeant Aquilino Gonell told NPR that what he and fellow officers went through that day and in days since has left emotional trauma, requiring therapy, and physical injuries, including one leaving him unable to lift one of his arms.
Gonell is an Army vet who served in Iraq, and noted that recent remarks by Pence, who was a target of violence by the mob of angry Trump supporters that day, downplayed the entire ordeal, after Pence told the Christian Broadcasting Network that January 6 was simply “one tragic day in January,” a description that he has used multiple times.
Pence told CBN:
“I’m not going to allow the Democrats or the national media to use one tragic day in January to demean the intentions of 74 million people who stood with us in our cause. And I’m not going to allow the Democrats to use one tragic day in January to distract attention from their failed agenda and the failed policies of the Biden administration. We’re going to focus on the future.”
Pence’s remarks are strange considering many of the rioters chanted “hang Mike Pence” as they stormed the Capitol, and some even erected a gallows, angry that Pence would not heed Trump’s request to not certify the electoral votes of his loss to Joe Biden. Trump even defended those calls for attacks on Pence last March when he told ABC’s Jonathan Karl they were “common sense,” adding, “Well, the people were very angry.”
Gonell criticized the former vice president strongly for his revisionist approach to the attacks:
“That one day in January almost cost my life. And we did everything possible to prevent him from being hanged and killed in front of his daughter and his wife. And now he’s telling us that that one day in January doesn’t mean anything. It’s pathetic. It’s a disgrace. He swore an oath to the country, not to Donald Trump.”
He continued by criticizing members of Congress that sided with Trump in not certifying the election victory of Joe Biden, as well as those who, like Pence, downplayed the violent mob attack on the Capitol:
“We risked our lives to give them enough time to get to safety. And allegedly, some of them were in communication with some of the rioters and with some of the coordinators or in the know of what would happen. And it makes you question their motives and their loyalty for the country, as we were battling the mob in a brutal battle where I could have lost my life and my dear fellow officers, as well.”
“They’re telling us, ‘Oh, it wasn’t that bad.’ It was that bad when they were running for their lives. It was that bad when we were struggling to hold them off so they could have a chance to escape to safety.”
When Gonell testified before the House select committee investigating the riots, he described the Capitol as a “medieval battlegound,” that was full of “horrific and devastating” violence, before concluding “To be honest, I did not recognize my fellow citizens that day, or the United States they claimed to represent.”