ICYMI: Courier Newsroom – Officer Michael Fanone: MAGA Extremism is the Greatest Threat to Our Democracy

“MAGA extremists have tried to rewrite the events of January 6th, 2021, but we must never forget the truth.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, former Metropolitan Police Department officer and Courage for America Councilmember, Michael Fanone, responded in an op-ed with Courier Newsroom to a recent Time Magazine interview with former President Donald Trump. Officer Fanone, who was severely injured while defending the Capitol against insurrectionists on January 6th, 2021, highlights the serious threat MAGA Extremism and Trump has on our democracy and calls out MAGA Republicans for continuing to perpetuate the Big Lie ahead of the November election.

“When violent insurrectionists stormed the Capitol on January 6th, all I could think about as I was defending it was how I wanted to make it out alive and be able to see my four daughters again. I thought that I had experienced the worst of Donald Trump and MAGA extremism that day, but after reading Trump’s comments in a recent interview with Time Magazine, and after extremists falsely called a SWAT team to my parents’ home just this week — I am even more outraged. Although everything that Trump said is exactly what I have come to expect from the former president, the fact that his extreme supporters are now targeting my family demonstrates how much of a threat they are to our democracy.”

MAGA extremists have tried to rewrite the events of January 6th, but we must never forget the truth. That single day disrupted my entire life and, as this week’s events have  shown, it continues to. January 6th led to a colleague of mine dying and ended my twenty-year career in law enforcement. The mob of insurrectionists maced, tased, and beat me and my fellow officers over and over again. I was brutally choked and thrown into the crowd, hit repeatedly with fists and metal objects, and I even heard one voice yell, ‘Kill him with his own gun.’ It sent a visceral fear down my spine. After the attack on the Capitol, I thought hard about the state of our democracy and how we must be diligent in defending it. Following the events of this week, I am committed to ensuring that MAGA extremism is defeated for the well-being and security of this nation.”

“Trump’s vision for the future and his draconian agenda only further threaten American democracy as we know it. Trump boasts that he wants to be a ‘dictator,’ prosecute President Biden, and pardon the January 6th rioters, whom he calls ‘patriots.’ The only difference between now and three years ago is that Trump is saying the quiet part out loud. I’ve learned to believe everything that he says about his intentions, and I hope the American people pay attention to these dangerous threats.”

“Trump has been, and continues to be, a proud spokesperson for political violence in this country, and even though he is out of office, his MAGA lapdogs in Congress continue to follow Trump’s every word and push his anti-democratic agenda through Congress. 139 House Republicans went along with the Big Lie and voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election results. Many of them continue to spew these dangerous lies. In this Congress, extreme MAGA Republicans voted against an investigation into January 6th and awarding Congressional Gold Medals to the Capitol Police officers who defended them. This includes our current Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, who was one of the extreme MAGA Republicans who voted against certifying the 2020 election in 2021. Since becoming Speaker, instead of rising to the occasion as a leader and calling out Trump’s anti-democratic rhetoric, Johnson has been visiting Mar-a-Lago frequently and dining alongside Trump and his billionaire donors.”

“That level of support and complicity by members of Congress is what encouraged the insurrectionists to assault Congress – and the police officers who were just doing their jobs. It’s shameful. As we head into the 2024 election, we need lawmakers to respect the integrity of our free and fair elections, ensure the peaceful certification of the results, and work to prevent another January 6th from happening again.”

“Since they clearly need to be continuously reminded, Donald Trump and the members ofCongress who stand by him need to look back at the photos and videos of January 6th. No one who witnessed the events of that day should ever call it a ‘peaceful protest’ because it was the exact opposite. The rioters were a violent mob that attempted to disrupt our constitutional democratic process and overthrow the 2020 election after being lied to by Donald Trump and his cronies. However, instead of acknowledging that reality, many Republican leaders have called insurrectionists currently facing jail time “hostages.” This is a blatant lie to the American public.”

“Many other brave police officers and I risked our lives to defend members of Congress and our democracy. For MAGA Republicans in Congress to continue perpetuating the Big Lie is a slap in the face to everyone who defended them at the Capitol three years ago and to the American people as a whole. Around two in three Americans are worried about another violent insurrection following this year’s election, and Congress needs to step up to ensure our democracy is safe. Our elected officials need to have the courage to call out the Big Lie and commit to certifying the election results on January 6, 2025. Anything less is aiding MAGA extremism.”

“Democracy is a precious thing. It should never have become a political bargaining chip. Although political disagreement is natural in a democracy, it should never result in violence against one another, the targeting of our loved ones, or violate the Constitution. I am eager for the day when Trump and MAGA extremists are a thing of the past and no longer have the chokehold on our democracy that they do today. Until then, we must remain vigilant and call on our elected officials to certify this year’s election results and defend our democracy from another insurrection.”

Read the op-ed HERE.