June 23, 2024

Veteran officers who defended the Capitol during the attack on Jan. 6, 2021, will campaign for President Biden in key battleground states, the campaign announced on Tuesday.

The officers will be warning voters what could happen if Donald Trump is elected again, the Biden campaign said.  

Former Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, former U.S. Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn, and D.C. police officer Danny Hodges will act as surrogates for the campaign in states including Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and New Hampshire in the weeks and months ahead. 

The campaign says the trio will underscore Trump’s praise for the Jan. 6 rioters, including having called them “unbelievable patriots,” and how Trump said he’ll be a dictator on “day one” of a second term. Trump has also said there will be a “bloodbath” if Mr. Biden wins in November. 

Gonell, Dunn and Hodges were all assaulted by rioters during the Capitol attack. Since then, they have become prominent voices reminding the public what happened on Jan. 6, as some Republicans on Capitol Hill have tried to downplay the day’s violence. A U.S. Capitol plaque honoring the police heroes of the day was required to be installed by March 2023, but it still hasn’t happened, as CBS News’ Scott MacFarlane has reported. 

Dunn ran for the Democratic nomination in Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District but ulitmately fell short to state Sen. Sarah Elfreth in May. 

The Biden campaign says the men will meet with elected officials and law enforcement organizations to “raise the alarm” about a second Trump term. 

“Donald Trump and his unhinged quest for power and retribution pose an existential threat to our democracy,” Dunn said in a statement released by the campaign. “He continues to embrace political violence, going as far as saying there will be a ‘bloodbath’ if he loses again and promising to be a dictator on ‘day one’ and pardon January 6 rioters. Donald Trump only cares about Donald Trump, which is why come November, Americans will reject his extremism once and for all and reelect the only candidate in the race committed to protecting our democracy and standing up for law enforcement: Joe Biden.”

The Department of Justice has charged more than 1,200 people with crimes related to the Jan. 6 Capitol assault, with hundreds of guilty pleas and convictions. 

The veteran officers have described how they still recall Jan. 6 vividly. 

“I was assaulted many times throughout the day,” Hodges told NPR in an interview in January. “I was beaten, punched, kicked, pushed, beaten with my own riot baton in the head, crushed with a police shield. Someone tried to gouge out one of my eyes.”

Mr. Biden has held events to mark the Capitol assault each January since. 

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