Officer injured in Capitol riot says GOP lawmaker refused to shake his hand, ran away 'like a coward'

A police officer who was injured in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot is calling out a Republican lawmaker he says refused to shake his hand and ran away from him "like a coward."

DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone in an appearance on Don Lemon's CNN show discussed a recent visit to the Capitol, during which he hoped to schedule appointments to speak with Republicans who voted against a bill awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the officers who defended Congress on Jan. 6. Fanone, who suffered a traumatic brain injury during the pro-Trump riot, told CNN that he tried to shake hands with Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), but the congressman "just stared at me" and refused to do so while they were in an elevator together.

After Fanone introduced himself and explained he fought to defend the Capitol, he says that Clyde "turned away from me" and appeared to be trying to open a recording app on his phone.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

"As soon as the elevator doors opened, he ran as quickly as he could, like a coward," Fanone said.

Fanone added that he took this "very personally" and also saw it "as a representation of Andrew Clyde giving the middle finger to myself and every other member of the Metropolitan Police Department and U.S. Capitol Police that responded that day."

Clyde's office didn't respond to a request for comment from CNN. The Republican lawmaker was previously criticized for downplaying the riot during a congressional hearing, claiming "there was no insurrection" and that videos from the day of the riot actually resembled a "normal tourist visit." Fanone told CNN he "felt compelled" to confront Clyde, in particular, due to his comments on the riot.

"He just out and out lied," Fanon said of Clyde. "The reality is, at this point, if you're going to sling bulls--- about Jan. 6, I'm going to call you out on it, and you're going to be held accountable."

See more

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.