Former President Donald Trump's smear campaign against the validity of American democracy culminated in a deadly failed insurrection against the United States Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
The insurrectionists shattered windows, ransacked offices, smeared excrement across the walls, and called for the execution of any elected official they deemed disloyal to Trump—including his own Vice President.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who may be contemplating a presidential run in 2024, recently told the Christian Broadcasting Network of the attack:
"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, and 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."
Perhaps no group faced a more direct threat than the Capitol and D.C. Metro police officers who defended the building that day. They faced chemical attacks and beatings from Trump supporters. Within a month, two Capitol officers would take their own lives. By August, two more would do the same.
One of the officers who defended the Capitol, Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, who testified this summer before a congressional committee that he thought he was going to die as he defended against the belligerent mob.
Gonell took issue with Pence's characterization of the insurrection as "one tragic day in January" and responded by tweeting pictures of the injuries he sustained that day.
Accompanied with photos of his bruised body and mangled feet, Gonell wrote:
"This happened to me giving [Pence] and others time to escape to safely so he wouldn’t get hanged/executed. To some, my efforts and injuries are just an exaggeration. THEY did this to me. This why it matters to me and should matters to you."
While Gonell feels Pence is dismissing the sacrifice of Capitol Police that day, gratitude poured in from social media users across the country.
They joined him in criticizing Pence and other Republican elected officials who've since downplayed the severity of the attack.
More than 100 law enforcement officers were injured defending the Capitol.