Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone pushed back on Newsmax host Greg Kelly’s bizarro suggestion that Capitol insurrectionists mistook Fanone for antifa when they nearly beat him to death on Jan. 6, flatly pointing out he was in “full uniform” that day.
Fanone and other police officers who were attacked during the Capitol riots delivered compelling testimony during Tuesday’s hearing before the Jan. 6 bipartisan House Select Committee. Meanwhile, Kelly and other conservative media stars took to Twitter to undermine the officers’ emotional and raw recounting of the MAGA mob.
At one point, Kelly, an obsequiously pro-Trump Newsmax star—whose Twitter account frequently borders on parody—decided to “just ask questions” and suggest rioters may have been unaware that Fanone was a police officer when they attacked him. (Fanone suffered a heart attack following the beating he received at the Capitol.)
“Is it possible FANONE was mistaken for ANTIFA?” Kelly tweeted, referencing the leftist protest movement that has become right-wing media’s go-to bogeyman. “He often, for media appearances, has worn all Black but no insignia, police patches, rank etc.”
Following the deadly riot, which was incited by former President Donald Trump and aimed to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory, Fanone has been a frequent and outspoken critic of Republicans who have downplayed and “whitewashed” the insurrection. He has also pressed GOP leaders—unsuccessfully—to denounce the GOP’s denialism on the matter.
While questioning Fanone during Tuesday’s hearing, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) referenced the Newsmax host’s tweet almost in real-time, asking Fanone if he could put the ridiculous suggestion to rest.
“Apparently in some nether-regions of the internet, it is being said that you, Officer Fanone, could have been mistaken for antifa and that’s why you were nearly beaten to death that day and carried by the crowd,” the Democratic congressman said. “Is there any way you think you were mistaken for antifa?”
Pointing out that he “was in full uniform” and that his shirt was adorned with his departmental patch, Fanone further noted that one of the rioters took a souvenir that day from him.
“I had my badge on until somebody ripped it off my chest,” he added. “I don’t believe I was mistaken for a member of antifa.”
Kelly’s antifa conspiracy may not have even been the most absurd right-wing theory tossed Fanone’s way on Tuesday. For instance, conservative writer Julie Kelly—a frequent Fox News guest of Tucker Carlson’s—outright called the D.C. police officer a “crisis actor,” citing his “many tattoos” as evidence and questioning the injuries he received.