House Speaker Kevin McCarthy may have admitted, on a few occasions, that the mob that entered the Capitol two years ago was a violent assault on Democracy, carried out at the behest of Donald Trump.
However, his predominant position has been to support the MAGA insurrectionists, and now the Capitol Police officers who put their lives on the line that day are very clear about what that means to them.
Former Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell is now calling out McCarthy for what he deems a betrayal, after the House Speaker’s latest moves to placate the insurrection caucus and lend support and comfort to defenders of January 6th rioters.
Among other things, he’s pointing out the disparity between how the officers who defended the Capitol and the participants in the riot are treated.
As the Ultra-MAGA segment of Congress planned a field trip to the D.C. jail to portray inmates charged with assaulting officers as innocent victims of political persecution, McCarthy accepted a meeting with Micki Witthoeft, who has become an activist since her daughter, Ashli Babbitt, was shot as she climbed through a broken window at the Capitol, while leading a violent mob and ignoring law enforcement ordering her to back down.
Gonell is now asking if McCarthy will meet with him as well.
Agreeing to palaver with a woman who still insists her daughter and others who attacked the Capitol are victims isn’t McCarthy’s only misstep, from the viewpoint of officers injured in that attack.
He’s also handed over footage from that day exclusively (at least, initially) to a particular right-wing media presenter, who used selective editing to reinforce his audience’s belief that the attack wasn’t violent or dangerous.
In a series of tweets, Gonell pointed out that House Republicans are choosing the side of the attackers who “were hunting them…room by room” over the folks who risked their own lives to defend and protect. He said:
“The moral injuries [Speaker McCarthy] and his insurrectionist sympathizers have created will never go away. We did our job. We protected them. Yet they defend the rioters who were hunting them and [their] colleagues room by room. They betrayed us.”
Now that he’s been called out publicly, will McCarthy grant Gonell, along with two fellow officers who defended his life that day, Harry Dunn and Daniel Hodges, the same courtesy of an open conversation that he was willing to give Witthoeft?
It remains to be seen.
See a few of Gonell’s tweets below.
Everyone, please let @SpeakerMcCarthy know that @libradunn, @SemperWry, Fanone and I are requesting a meeting with him about January 6. It seems like that’s how it works with him.
— Staff Sergeant Gonell, Aquilino (@SergeantAqGo) March 23, 2023
If she and friends/fellow rioters want better treatment maybe they should have booked a trip to maralago or a resort instead of storming the Capitol. It’s illegal…when you do illegal activities, and get caught, you lose your freedom and rights. https://t.co/kIMhvxYbOH
— Staff Sergeant Gonell, Aquilino (@SergeantAqGo) March 25, 2023
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.