Sgt. Aquilino Gonell revealed that Republican lawmakers have avoided him since he was injured in the Jan. 6 insurrection, and he can only conclude they consider him an enemy.
The Capitol police officer will be forced into early retirement due to long-term injuries, and he told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that only two GOP lawmakers -- House select committee members Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger -- have spoken to him since the U.S. Capitol riot, although some of the Republicans who voted against Joe Biden's certification have publicly supported the rioters.
"It's disheartening," he said. "I'm not saying that I need that from them, but that shows a lot from the people who claim they support the police, and back the blue, and are pro-law and order. It's fascinating to me the way they treat us."
Co-host Mika Brzezinski asked what he would say to them, if given an opportunity, and he said they had to live with themselves.
"I hear some people defending the 'political prisoners,'" Gonell said. "To me, that tells me they consider me the bad guy of the whole story, and it's not only me who feels that way. I think there's a lot of disheartening by the way they are going about fighting for the people who attacked the police officers at the Capitol, continually defending the whole chaos, the insurrection, whatever they want to call it. It was bad, not only for myself or the other officers, for the country, for democracy, but yet those are the people that they are defending, the people who attacked the police officers in full uniform who were defending the Capitol on that day."
One of those rioters, Stephen Ayers, testified Tuesday before the House select committee and then apologized to three police officers in attendance, including Gonell, who was the only one to accept his apology but admitted it had caught him off guard.
"To be honest, I'm not looking for an apology, just hold people accountable -- that's what I want," Gonell said. "Again, what I had done in the past, I fulfilled my oath, both overseas and here in the United States, especially on Jan. 6. For the past 16 years, they all, all took the same oath. Again, I'm not looking for an apology."
"What I find disfranchising and demoralizing is that we defended the Capitol," he added. "Capitol police defended the Capitol, along with Metropolitan police and, subsequently, the other law enforcement agencies that show up afterwards, including the National Guard. Those are the people who they should be fighting for, not the people who attacked the police officers. Those people who attack us, they made the decision to attack the police officers, knowing we were doing our duty, knowing that we were keeping our responsibility to defend the Capitol. It's unheard of, that they're defending those people instead of the police officers who did -- because on Jan. 6, they were scared. The members and everybody inside the Capitol was scared. I was scared, to be honest. Guess what? I did my job, I risked my life. I put myself on the line to give them a chance to get to safety and continue doing their duty as elected officials, and I feel abandoned regarding that."