GOP Lawmaker Recalls Crying as Capitol Police Protected Him During Siege

In an interview with PBS' Firing Line that aired on Friday, Wisconsin Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher spoke about his experience with Capitol police helping him as President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.

“I started crying in that moment,” recalls @RepGallagher, a marine veteran, of his reaction when he saw the “exhausted” Capitol police following their “heroic efforts” during the Capitol siege.

"These guys were basically in battle for six hours in order to protect me."

— Firing Line with Margaret Hoover (@FiringLineShow) January 8, 2021

Gallagher, a former Marine, detailed his experiences from that day when the protest "seemed to escalate out of control very quickly." The representative also said that he felt that many Republicans' challenges to the election results and efforts to overturn them "gave a lot of people false hope." He called for the country to come together for a peaceful transfer of power.

It was clear to GOP @RepGallagher a "significant portion of the Republican Party, including the president himself, had told millions of Americans something that was fundamentally not true...that on January 6th, Congress was somehow going to overturn the results of the election."

— Firing Line with Margaret Hoover (@FiringLineShow) January 8, 2021

Firing Line host Margaret Hoover asked Gallagher if there should be an investigation into why Capitol security wasn't better prepared for the protest. Gallagher responded that he was "stunned" that protesters were able to get past security and didn't understand "why the National Guard wasn't mobilized more quickly or mobilized proactively," before pivoting to speak about his personal experience.

Gallagher said that after he proceeded to go to the House floor to vote when the situation de-escalated, he witnessed the cafeteria "filled with Capitol police officers in riot gear that were just exhausted." Gallagher said he was moved by the police's efforts and offered support, even if they weren't properly prepared.

"These guys were basically in battle for six hours, in order to protect me, and so I'm not saying they did a bad job. I'm sure they did the best with what resources they had available, but whatever the plan was, it was not adequate. Whatever the resources were, they were not adequate. I want to salute their heroic efforts. I started crying in that moment. I'm getting teary thinking about it now," he said.

Hoover then asked Gallagher if law enforcement would have responded more intensely had the rioters from Wednesday been Black Lives Matter protesters. The congressman responded by saying it was a "serious accusation" that accuses many more than just Trump of racism, including people in the Capitol police command.

"I'm just not prepared to make that accusation without more evidence, but if evidence reveals the opposite, that I'm wrong: there was some sort of double standard that because this was a MAGA crowd and not a BLM crowd, we didn't deploy the same resources, that would be wrong. I would want to get to the bottom of it, because we should have a consistent standard across the board that political violence is unacceptable," he said.

He continued: "It doesn't matter if you're antifa or if you're a Proud Boy, you're not allowed to attack the cops. You're not allowed to conduct outright vandalism. You are not allowed to destroy American institutions."

Gallagher also spoke about the Republicans who still challenged the election certification of President-elect Joe Biden after the assault. "You have to be willing to tell people the truth, even if it's uncomfortable, and even if it hurts you politically," he said.

"I think it's shameful behavior," says GOP @RepGallagher of the 147 House members who still objected to the election results after the Capitol assault.

He also says privately some members had admitted the objections were wrong and futile but they didn't want primary challenges.

— Firing Line with Margaret Hoover (@FiringLineShow) January 8, 2021

Gallagher also said that of those who objected, probably less than 10 percent actually believed the arguments that they were making, whereas others were more politically motivated.

Hoover asked the congressman how the attacked appeared to America's enemies. He said he didn't think it was "a good look," and suggested that the Chinese Communist Party was "watching us [Wednesday] and laughing."

Newsweek reached out to Gallagher's office for comment.

Protesters Capitol Donald Trump Rally
Protesters enter the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. Win McNamee/Getty