“Elise Stefanik Has None of the Fundamental Qualities of True Leadership. She Has No Honor, No Integrity, No Courage”: Officer Michael Fanone on Potential Censure of Rep. Stefanik
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Former D.C. police officer and Courage for America Councilmember Michael Fanone, who was severely injured while defending the Capitol on January 6th, spoke with Chris Jansing on MSNBC today about Rep. Elise Stefanik’s recent comments about January 6th insurrectionists, her potential censure and the ongoing importance of holding insurrectionists accountable for attacking our democracy. Below is a transcript of the interview:
Chris Jansing: The fourth most powerful Republican in the House, Elise Stefanik, is now facing a censure resolution. New York Democratic Congressman Dan Goldman introduced it. He argued she supported, charged, and convicted January 6 insurrectionists to attack the Capitol. The resolution points to these comments that she made on Meet the Press just this past Sunday.
B-roll of Rep. Stefanik on MSNBC’s Meet the Press
Kristen Welker: Do you think that the people who stormed the Capitol should be held responsible to the full extent of the law?
Stefanik: I have concerns about the treatment of January 6 hostages. I have concerns, we have a role in Congress of oversight over our treatment of prisoners.
End of B-roll
Jansing: Joining us now, Michael Fanone, retired DC police officer who of course was among those attacked on January 6th. I just want to start by asking you, what goes through your head when you hear January 6th defendants referred to as hostages?
Michael Fanone: I mean it’s outrageous, but it’s not unexpected. Elise Stefanik is an insurrectionist. On January 6th, she voted to overturn the results of a free and fair election, based solely on the statements of Donald Trump and a few of his crazy supporters. She used the authority of her position as an elected member of Congress to legitimize baseless accusations and with no evidence to support those claims. And her rhetoric, along with others’, inspired thousands of Americans, her own party’s supporters, to attack the Capitol and police officers who were there to protect her.
Jansing: You released a statement in fact saying many of the things that you’ve just said now in support of the censure resolution. Do you think that this specific action, a censure, really helps to hold her accountable? I think there was a time when a censure really was something rare. It was widely seen as an important kind of moral rebuke. Now, just in the 118th Congress, the House has already voted to censure three different members. I wonder if you think this risked looking more like a tit-for-tat political move than an honorable stance?
Fanone: Well, I mean, I agree with you, in part. The idea of a censure would resonate with somebody who had honor or integrity. Elise Stefanik, has none of the fundamental qualities of true leadership. She has no honor, no integrity, no courage. She’s willing to sell out her country and her fellow countrymen in a personal quest for power. That being said, I’ve said many times now, I think this, you know, the war that we are waging against MAGA in this insurrectionist movement, is an all hands on deck affair. And so everyone should be doing everything within their power. If you’re a member of Congress, I guess that’s censoring your fellow representatives, because there are still decent people in this country who find that rhetoric outrageous. And so, you know, I applaud the Congressman’s efforts to hold her accountable in the means that he has at his disposal.
Jansing: NBC News has learned that, and this is exclusive reporting from my colleagues, that former President Trump is eyeing Stefanik as his potential Vice President. He has called her, to folks he’s talked to about his process, a “killer.” Stefanik had said in her Meet the Press interview, in fact, she would be honored to serve in any capacity in the Trump administration. If there were to be a Trump Stefanik administration, what do you think that means for the reality for January 6th, for the people who are in prison, the insurrectionists, and what does it mean, what would it mean overall?
Fanone: I try not to think about these things. But, I believe that first and foremost, I think day one, Donald Trump pardons all of his supporters that attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021. To include those that attacked members of law enforcement like myself, I think that the January 6th narrative gets flipped on its head. It’ll go down as a, you know, patriotic moment in American history in which Trump and his supporters stormed the Capitol, and let it be known their grievance against our government.
Jansing: We only have a few seconds left but I’m thinking about E. Jean Carol who has been on the stand, very different circumstance right, but has her own things to say about Donald Trump, but also what has happened to her as a result of saying these things about Donald Trump. Do you ever have any regrets at all about becoming as public as you have in your criticism of Donald Trump and what happened on January 6th?
Fanone: None whatsoever. I mean, I have concerns. Just the other day, in fact, yesterday, I was working out at the gym, and was confronted by a Trump supporter, who became enraged and threatened me. This is a very real reality for those of us who are out here, and maybe don’t have the means or the support apparatus to have full time security. Something I wouldn’t have anyways, but, you know, I’m concerned about my family. I’m worried that my daughters are going to come across a parent that knows who I am, and knows the things that I’ve said about Donald Trump and that they would suffer as a result of that.
Jansing: Michael Fanone, who has been very much out there and is supporting the censure of Elise Stefanik. Thank you so much for being on the program. We appreciate you taking the time.
To view the full interview, click HERE.
To read his full statement on the potential censure, click HERE.
“I Refuse to Stay Silent On a Matter That Affects Us All”: Officer Michael Fanone Condemns MAGA Extremism Ahead of January 6th Anniversary
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Courage for America Council Member and former Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone spoke with Dennis Owens of Pennsylvania’s ABC27 to commemorate the third anniversary of the January 6th attack and highlight the magnitude and danger of political violence and extremism affecting our democracy. Below is a transcript of the interview:
Alicia Richards: Saturday is the third anniversary of the attack by fellow Americans on the U.S. Capitol. A police officer who was seriously injured that day is sounding the alarm tonight that the problems that led to that riot have not been fixed and it could happen again. He brought that message to the state capitol and spoke with our Dennis Owens.
Officer Michael Fanone: What you saw unfold before your very eyes on television is what happened.
B-Roll from Officer Fanone’s body-cam footage from January 6, 2021
Dennis Owens: And this is what unfolded before Michael Fanone’s eyes. Video from his body cam shows the D.C. Police officer beaten by the mob, even tased in the neck.
End of B-Roll
Fanone: And as a result I suffered a heart attack and a traumatic brain injury.
Owens: Fanone says equally traumatic, the flames of electoral mistrust continue to be fanned as another divisive election looms.
Fanone: Same rhetoric, the same lies that inspired the January 6th insurrection continue to be spoken by members of one political party.
Owens: Indeed a recent AP poll shows 9 in 10 Democrats describe January 6th as quote “very violent”, but only 3 in 10 Republicans do. Fanone’s reaction.
Fanone: It’s “bull****. Regardless of your political ideology, it was violent. It really happened. It was supporters of the former president and a lot of police officers were hurt in the process.
B-Roll from Officer Fanone’s testimony to the House select committee investigating January 6.
Fanone: The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful!
End of B-Roll
Owens: Fanone is tattooed, likes to fish and hunt, self-described redneck from Virginia who voted for Donald Trump in 2016. The former president denies any wrongdoing, and insists he played no role in that riot. Fanone insists otherwise.
Fanone: Absolutely. 100%. What’s even crazier to me is how he has doubled down on that rhetoric in the aftermath.
Owens: Now retired from police work, Fanone wrote a book about that day and visited the state capitol as part of an educational tour, he says, to alert Americans that it could happen again.
Fanone: Steer clear of these conspiracy theories. People just need to listen to the facts.
Owens: And to Fanone, the facts are simple. No election was stolen, but officers were hurt because politicians said that it was.
B-Roll from a Courage for America event
Fanone: I refuse to stay silent on a matter that affects us all.
End of B-Roll
To view the full interview, click HERE.
“That’s Probably the Closest I Ever Came In My Career to Losing My Life” : Officer Michael Fanone Condemns MAGA Extremism and Political Violence Ahead of January 6th Anniversary
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Courage for America Council Member and former Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone spoke with Susan Arbetter of Spectrum NY1 to commemorate the third anniversary of the January 6th attack and highlight the danger of political violence and the importance of protecting democracy. Below is a transcript of the interview:
Susan Arbetter: Now retired, Michael Fanone was hurt during the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, suffering a heart attack as well as a traumatic brain injury as a result of the violence. And he joins us tonight to speak out about rising political violence, and it’s a pleasure to have you here. And I’m so sorry about what happened to you.
Officer Micahel Fanone: Thank you.
Arbetter: So you were a DC police officer. You’re now retired.
Fanone: Yes ma’am.
Arbetter: Tell us what happened on January 6th. How did you end up at the Capitol?
Fanone: So January 6, 2021, like you said, I was a DC police officer. I had been for almost 20 years prior to that. And I was assigned to a small special mission unit that focused primarily on violent crime and narcotics trafficking. That day our office was scheduled to do a narcotics buy as part of an investigation that we’re working on, but like many other officers assigned to the DC police department, I heard the distress calls coming out from fellow officers who had responded to assist the U.S. Capitol Police.
Arbetter: What time was this?
Fanone: Well, the distress calls, I believe started coming out shortly after 1:00pm when there was the initial breach. I’d heard reports from other officers who were on duty that morning and monitoring the rally itself, which was at the Ellipse and there were reports of individuals in the crowd who were armed. There were arrests for individuals who had brought firearms into the District of Columbia, and then at some point, I remember getting a phone call from my partner, Jimmy Albright, who told me that a large group had broken off from the rally and was headed towards the Capitol.
B-Roll from Officer Fanone’s January 6, 2021 body camera
Arbetter: I just want to briefly interrupt you by saying that the footage that we are watching right now, I believe comes from your body camera that day.
Fanone: This footage here, yes, this is my body worn camera footage. Like I said, I did respond to the Capitol. It was the first time in probably more than a decade that I put on a uniform.
Arbetter: You went to help your fellow officers.
Fanone: Yes, ma’am. I heard the distress calls coming out from fellow cops and I went there to help cops. At one point I made my way to the Lower West Terrace Tunnel, which is located on the west front of the Capitol. It’s where the President Elect walks out to the inaugural stage to take the oath of office and there, alongside of about 40 other DC police officers, I fought to defend that entranceway from an onslaught of violent attackers.
End of B-Roll
Arbetter: And you were attacked.
Fanone: I was, I was pulled from the police line by an individual. His name is Albuquerque Head and he’s from Tennessee. He was later arrested, and pled guilty to assaulting me. He grabbed me by the neck and pulled me away from the other officers out into the crowd. If you listen to the audio on the body worn camera, he’s the one that shouts out “I got one”.
Arbetter: Meaning you?
Fanone: Correct, meaning me. After that I was beaten. I had my police badge and radio stripped from my vest. And at one point another individual, Daniel Rodriguez from the state of California, struck me multiple times with a taser device that he acquired at the rally and electrocuted me.
Arbetter: Leading to a heart attack?
Fanone: Correct. Like you said earlier, I suffered a heart attack and traumatic brain injury as a result of the injuries I sustained.
Arbetter: Did you think you’re gonna die?
Fanone: I was very concerned about being killed that day. Yes, I did. That’s probably the closest I ever came in my career to losing my life.
Arbetter: So what’s so interesting about this story and tragic is that for a long time, you were a Trump supporter.
Fanone: I was, I voted for Donald Trump in 2016.
Arbetter: After January 6th, you were no longer a Trump supporter.
Fanone: I’m here to tell you, and you don’t have to believe me, just watch my body worn camera footage, January 6th was violent. It involved Trump supporters. It was fueled by the former president’s lies, and it put a lot of police officers in the hospital.
Arbetter: Your prognosis is good. You have recovered from your heart attack and your traumatic brain injury?
Fanone: Yes, ma’am.
Arbetter: So what’s next for Michael Fanone?
Fanone: I don’t know. I mean, right now, I’m just focused on defeating MAGA and Donald Trump and ensuring that democracy continues for my children.
Arbetter: If Donald Trump is taken off the ballot, for whatever reason, you know, RICO, sedition, violation of the Espionage Act, do you think there’s going to be an uprising or another insurrection?
Fanone: I would bet that there would be continued acts of violence to be honest with you, I think that there’ll be acts of violence whether or not Donald Trump is, you know, on the ballot or whether or not he’s elected. That being said, I don’t think that we can be afraid of those Americans who would choose to commit crimes because of their political ideology. We deal with it the same way that we dealt with those that attacked the Capitol on January 6th, we pursue prosecution. And if the evidence is there, we get a conviction.
Arbetter: Well, thank you for joining us. We’ve been speaking with retired police officer Michael Fanone. He was hurt during the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, a brain injury, heart attack. He’s recovered, and he joins us now to talk about the importance of democracy and what happened. I appreciate your time.
To view the full interview, click HERE.
Officer Michael Fanone Condemns MAGA Extremism on Morning Joe Ahead of January 6th Anniversary
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Courage for America Council Member and former Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone joined MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning to commemorate the third anniversary of the January 6th attack and warn against MAGA extremism. Below is a transcript of the interview:
Willie Geist: So Officer Fanone, you know, it’s obviously been shocking to a lot of us, to a lot of Americans who agree, the vast majority we should point out, agreed January 6 was a terrible day. We believe what we saw with our eyes that day, either in person for many people or on television, but also this narrative that’s taken hold in certain quarters among Trump supporters in particular that it actually wasn’t what we saw that day.
That’s the one side of it. The other side of it is you’ve had more than 1200 people arrested, the head of the Proud Boys and the Oathkeepers going to jail for a very long time. More convictions to come. Prosecutors say they’re only about halfway done with the people they want to find. So how do you feel three years on after January 6, 2021?
Officer Michael Fanone: I mean, when you mentioned all those investigations, the Department of Justice undertaking and, you know, prosecuting more than 1200 Americans for their actions on January 6. States now starting to debate and make an effort to remove Donald Trump from the ballot, all of those things I think are a good start and necessary.
I don’t want to put too much stock into any one institution. I think it’s an all hands on deck effort to make sure that Donald Trump doesn’t assume the presidency in 2024. We all know what that’s gonna look like, he’s told us as much. But I’ve also got to point out some of the disappointments that I’ve had over the past three years. And that’s where’s the outrage on behalf of the current administration?
You know, I give credit, Joe Biden has given some fiery speeches with regards to MAGA and its effort to overturn a free and fair election. But that’s something that this country needs to hear every single day, specifically younger people, young voters. When I go out and talk to them, they seem completely disillusioned with the political process.
And I think a lot of the problems that President Biden is dealing with now, the image problems, stem from being too soft. I feel like Biden can be outraged, he can express anger without coming across as unhinged, like Donald Trump. And I would like to see him fight for our democracy with the same tenacity that Donald Trump fights to destroy it.
Mika Brzezinski: Michael Fanone, your take on former President Trump calling these criminals, convicted criminals, hostages?
Fanone: It makes perfect sense to me. You know the individuals that stormed the Capitol on January 6 attacked law enforcement in an effort to stop the certification of the election. Those people, that’s Donald Trump’s core group of supporters.
I don’t know whether or not he actually believes that they’re hostages or even that, you know, he cares for them outside of the fact that he knows they’ll vote for him if he says things like that. It just comes back to the fact that their support for Donald Trump is based on lies, and so Donald Trump has to continue to perpetuate those lies in order to maintain that level of support.
Brzezinski: Former DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone and former Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, thank you both very much for coming on the show this morning and thank you for your service.
To view the full interview, click HERE.
“It Was Incredibly Violent. And a Lot of Police Officers Got Hurt.”: Officer Michael Fanone Recounts Attack on the U.S. Capitol Ahead of January 6th Anniversary
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Courage for America Council Member and former Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone spoke with Tyler Hatfield on FOX 43 recalling his experience defending the U.S. Capitol against MAGA rioters ahead of the third anniversary of January 6th. Below is a transcript of the interview:
Tyler Hatfield: I’m with former Metro DC police officer Michael Fanone who was on the ground that day to hear about what he saw.
Officer Michael Fanone: It was nothing I’d ever seen as a police officer.
Hatfield: Fanone’s body cam footage shows him trying to push back rioters from entering the Lower West campus tunnel.
Fanone: The fighting was intense. It was close quarters combat. And there were only about 40 of us in that tunnel. Holding off what turned out to be an onslaught of thousands upon thousands of rioters who were trying to make their way into the Capitol.
Hatflied: Fanone says he was then met on the Capitol steps by rioters, pulled out into the crowd, and attacked.
Fanone: I was beaten. I was struck multiple times with a taser device. My day ended at Washington Hospital Center in a hospital bed.
Hatfield: Fanone says he suffered from a heart attack and a traumatic brain injury that day.
Fanone: I realized that I probably came closer to dying that day than I ever have as a police officer.
Hatfield: And three years later, Fanone still feels the public doesn’t understand what happened at the Capitol.
Fanone: What’s most difficult is the aftermath. And the fact that again, like I’m still here, still having to give interviews to educate the public as to the reality and the significance of the violence that occurred that day. It was not a tourist day. It was not a normal day. It was incredibly violent. And a lot of police officers got hurt.
To view the full interview, click HERE.
“January 6 Was an Attack on Our Democracy”: Officer Michael Fanone Condemns MAGA Extremism Ahead of January 6th Anniversary
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Courage for America Council Member and former Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone spoke with Joy Reid on MSNBC’s TheReidOut to commemorate the third anniversary of the January 6th attack and highlight Congress’ role in certifying the 2024 election, the first presidential election since the insurrection. Below is a transcript of the interview:
Joy Reid: Certain Republicans and members of the conservative media have gone overboard this year in downplaying the insurrection, and Trump’s role in it. So it’s no surprise that now a significant number of Americans do not even think it was his fault.
A new poll from the Washington Post and the University of Maryland found that only 53% of Americans and just 14% of Republicans think Trump bears a great deal, or a good deal, of responsibility for January 6. Those numbers are down significantly from the last time the poll was conducted in 2021.
Joining me now is Michael Fanone, former DC Metro Police officer who was badly injured by the insurrectionist mob on January 6, 2021.
Michael Fanone, it is great to finally have you on the show. It has been a long time coming. So thank you so much for taking the time. And I just want to get your reaction to hearing that that is what Americans now think. They agree with Tucker Carlson – that the people who were attacking you were peaceful, ordinary, meek.
Officer Michael Fanone: Yeah, I mean, listen, it pisses me off to no end. But also I understand, you know, when you have people like presidential candidates, Republican presidential candidates, governors, Members of Congress, elected leaders, you know, people that hold positions of authority in this country, telling their constituents lies and BS like you just heard. You know, then that’s going to be the end result. People are not going to know the truth about January 6, the reality of that day, the experience that so many police officers like myself had battling with these violent insurrectionists at the Capitol.
Reid: Let me let you listen to some younger voters. These are some voters who were at something called America Fest, which is Turning Point USA, which is that right wing organization, they held something called America Fest, and this is what young voters said about the insurrection.
B-Roll from Turning Point USA’s America Fest
Attendee 1: Yes, I think January 6 might have been an inside job. If you watch some of that footage. You can see there’s several people who have like microphones in their ears who look like feds and they are also trying to get a riot started.
Attendee 2: I don’t think it was an insurrection. There wasn’t much violence.
Attendee 3: I do believe it was an inside job because the Capitol security should be some of the best security in the country. And these people got in with ease.
End of B-Roll
Reid: I mean, the Capitol Security should be some of the best security in the country. You were not a Capitol Police officer. You were called in because they were being overwhelmed.
Where do you think this idea comes from, that this was somehow done by the feds? You were there and I think it’s pretty clear to you, but this was done by civilians, or in some cases, people who were actual law enforcement or military.
Fanone: I mean those idiots that you just played are just repeating the lies that they’ve heard, you know, their masters within the Republican Party echo for the past three years.
Reid: Do you think as somebody who you know – you’re in the world, you’re not a pundit, you talk about your own personal experience and you experienced these people firsthand.
Do you think this is a belief system that is changeable or do you think that this is now going to be dogma in part of our country that people just won’t believe that the experience you had happened?
Fanone: No, I mean, I used to think that by educating people about my experience, about the experiences of law enforcement on January 6, that I could somehow convince people that you know, regardless of their political affiliation, that January 6 was an attack on our democracy, and at the very least, an attack on police officers who you know, were just doing their job that day.
You know, the same job that everyone asks them to do all across this country on a daily basis. But you know, now we’ve gotten to a point where there’s really only two kinds of people in this country. There’s people that support MAGA, whether it’s actively or passively and enable people like Donald Trump to continue to peddle the lies, and inspire violence all throughout this country. And then there’s those that oppose MAGA and that are going to fight like myself, to prevent Donald Trump and his sycophants from holding office in this country.
Reid: What will it say about us as a country if Donald Trump becomes president again after supporting and fomenting an insurrection?
Fanone: I think that it says that we’ve given up on democracy in this country. That the outcome, you know, the ends essentially justify the means, and that the rule of law is meaningless in America.
Reid: What has been the reaction of your fellow law enforcement in general? What you’re saying, is that what federal law enforcement in general are saying to you about your speaking out about the insurrection, and about Trump?
Fanone: I mean, I’ve always said, you know, law enforcement is a microcosm of our society. There is still a great deal of law enforcement officers, especially outside of the DC area, and inside unfortunately the DC area, that support Donald Trump. Maybe not so much because of his actions on January 6, but because they support the message and they support the ideology behind the MAGA movement. They believe that because Donald Trump says he supports law enforcement that Donald Trump does in fact support law enforcement. I don’t understand that.
Reid: Yeah, I think the evidence is fairly clear from your experience that he does not. Michael Fanone, please come back. Thank you very much. We really appreciate it. We know this anniversary is coming up very soon, this week, in a few days. So thank you so much for spending some time with us.
To view the full interview, click HERE.
Progressive Activists Ready Campaign to Counter New House G.O.P. Majority
“What Courage for America aims to do is really make sure the MAGA agenda doesn’t get passed without strenuous opposition,” said Naveed Shah, a spokesman and senior adviser for the group, which expects to have a seven-figure budget funded by donors who can remain anonymous.
A new House “accountability war room” supported by Courage for America will be independently run by Zac Petkanas, a veteran Democratic strategist who worked for Harry Reid of Nevada in the Senate and on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, where he was director of rapid response.