'Our Own President Set Us Up': Injured Capitol Police Officer Says Trump Betrayed Him
WASHINGTON ― After Tuesday’s bombshell hearing investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell said he holds former President Donald Trump personally responsible for the injuries he sustained defending the Capitol.
“Our own president set us up,” Gonnell said in an interview with HuffPost. “I just feel betrayed. The president should be doing everything possible to help us and he didn’t do it. He wanted to lead the mob and wanted to lead the crowd himself ... he wanted to be a tyrant.”
Trump knew his supporters were armed with weapons before he urged them to march on the Capitol the day of the attack, an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows testified during Tuesday’s hearing. Trump also got into a physical altercation with a Secret Service agent after he was told he could not go to the Capitol himself, according to testimony.
Following the president’s rally, hundreds of his supporters stormed the Capitol. Five people died and more than 140 officers were injured.
Gonell underwent surgery on his foot and shoulder after the attack, which he described as a “medieval battleground” in testimony before Congress last year. Trump supporters “punched, pushed, kicked, [and] shoved” him and his fellow officers in their attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 electoral vote, he said at the time.
U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino can't do his job and protect the Capitol anyone because former President Donald Trump sent an armed mob his way. (Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
On Tuesday, standing in the January 6 committee hearing room, Gonell learned he would never again be able to serve in full uniform and carry out his job protecting the Capitol because of medical issues stemming from the Jan. 6 riot.
“That’s something that is on [Trump], that is on those people who continue to deny what happened that horrific day and those who have not come forward,” Gonell said. He attended the proceeding along with several other officers who have been outspoken about the riot.
“It’s mind-boggling that we have been betrayed from the government top-down, especially those who work in the White House,” Gonell added.
Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide to Meadows, said in Tuesday’s hearing that her former boss sensed on Jan. 2, 2021, that the plot to overturn the election was serious and dangerous. She said Meadows told her “things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6.”
In more explosive testimony, Hutchinson described how former Trump White House lawyer Pat Cipollone barged into Meadows’ office as rioters breached the Capitol on Jan. 6 and told him: “Mark, something needs to be done, more people are going to die and blood’s going to be on your hands.”
Meadows’ response, according to Hutchinson, was that ”[Trump] doesn’t want to do anything.”
Both Meadows and Cipollone have refused to appear before the committee.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the lead GOP member on the panel, hailed Hutchinson’s courage for speaking out.
“We are all in her debt,” Cheney said. “Our nation is preserved by those who know the difference between right and wrong. The easy course is to hide from the spotlight.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.