A Capitol police sergeant seriously injured in the Jan. 6 insurrection called it a “disgrace” that former Vice President Mike Pence recently seemed to downplay the significance of the day after officers risked their lives to save his.
“That one day in January almost cost my life,” Sgt. Aquilino Gonell told NPR in an interview this week.
“We did everything possible to prevent him [Pence] 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,” Gonell said. “It’s a disgrace.”
Gonell was attacked by the mob on Jan. 6, 2021, and dragged by his leg. He still does not have full use of his left arm.
“I could feel myself losing oxygen and recall thinking to myself, ‘This is how I’m going to die, trampled defending this entrance,’” he recounted in emotional testimony in July before a House committee investigating the riot.
Now, he’s furious about Pence’s recent comments downplaying the significance of the day.
Pence told the Christian Broadcasting Network in an interview released early this month: “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.”
He added: “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.”
Pence also said he believes he did the “right thing” certifying the electoral votes confirming Joe Biden’s presidential victory. “I know in my heart of hearts that on that day, we did our duty, under the Constitution,” he said.
Gonell posted photos of the injuries he suffered on Jan. 6 in response to Pence’s comments.
He sharply criticized other lawmakers as well.
“It’s mind boggling to hear some of the things that are coming from some of these elected officials,” Gonell said.
“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,” Gonell said.
“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.”
Read Gonell’s full interview with NPR here.