“It is important that all institutions in this country, all Americans, take seriously the responsibility of defending democracy,” Fanone.
he said in an interview. “And everyone must do everything they can to ensure that a) Donald Trump does not succeed and b) the MAGA movement becomes extinct.”
Fanone is the face of a six-figure ad campaign being launched Saturday by an advocacy group opposing what Democrats warn is a voter suppression bill.
Dunn announced Friday that he will run in the crowded Democratic congressional primary in Maryland.
On the third anniversary of the January 6 attack, the two are making inroads into the political arena. They are following different paths, but both could serve as potent forces in the attempt to prevent former President Donald Trump from retaking the White House in this critical election year.
Fanone and Dunn say they feel compelled to move from protecting the country through policing to protecting its integrity through politics.
“I like to live by the phrase: ‘Until nothing can be done, there is always something that can be done,’” Dunn
he said in an interview. “As a Capitol Police officer, I did everything I could in that role to protect, defend and preserve democracy. But that is already exhausted.”
Their names and stories have become brands.
His visibility increased after the attack by Trump supporters over his omnipresence on cable news networks and his testimony before the Jan. 6 select panel. They have seen how the riots and their aftermath divided the country.
Dunn seeks to join the ranks of House members to whom he described the intense and lasting psychological trauma of the attack.
“I have shown you that I am willing and able to fight against the people who are trying to tear down and destroy our democracy,” he said.
Fanone, a former D.C. metropolitan official, appears in multiple Courage for America television ads pressuring Rep. Elise Stefanik (R.N.Y.) and other House Republicans across the country to drop their support for the legislation that affects how states administer federal elections. The bill is called the “American Confidence in Elections Act,” but opponents call it the “Big Lie Bill.”
Point in Stefanik’s Northern District of New York uses body camera footage Fanone wore while responding to the insurrection, during which he was beaten and electrocuted.
Fanone said he has no plans to run for elected office and prefers to live a life of relative isolation, though not without being recognized and even cursed in public by Trump supporters.
He said he plans to vote for President Joe Biden after endorsing Trump’s first pick. For Fanone, fighting the narrative – and holding Trump accountable, including through the judicial system – is the prerogative.
“That’s all that happened afterward,” Fanone said. “Imagine the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to you, and then you will have to spend years convincing people what really happened.”
Fanone and Dunn offer a glimpse into how the approximately 140 officers physically injured on Jan. 6 while guarding the Capitol are processing the events as they watch the country decide to move on from them.
Many have left the Capitol and Metropolitan police forces. Some have published accounts of the political violence they survived.
Fanone’s book is called “Hold the Line”; Dunn’s is “Standing My Ground.” Aquilino Gonell, a now-retired Capitol Police officer, has a memoir called “American Shield.”
And Julie Farnam, who was deputy director of intelligence for the Capitol Police on January 6, released “Domestic Darkness” this month and
launched a Democratic candidacy for the Arlington County Board in Virginia last November.
“We saw how fragile our democracy is and we saw how divided our country is,” Farnam said in an interview, adding that he believes holding elected office “gives you the opportunity to shape how the country and the community will grow into the future.” “
Stefanik’s team said Fanone, Courage for America and other critics are wasting their time and money.
“The ruthless left continues its deranged obsession with Elise Stefanik, and they are literally setting money on fire with this desperate ad,” said Alex deGrasse, Stefanik’s senior adviser. “Elise will never give up on her commitment to securing our elections.”
Dunn left the Capitol Police last month. He is vying for the seat being vacated by outgoing Rep. John Sarbanes.
He said he could count on prominent allies in Congress such as Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), but he emphasized that his decision to run for Congress was his alone: “I have very strong convictions. about why I am running.”
Sarbanes’ decision not to run for re-election last October launched a fight to succeed him in Maryland’s Third District, a solidly liberal amalgam of suburban Baltimore enclaves. Dunn said he is unfazed by the crowded field.
“I spent the last 15 years of my life being around elected officials every day, having personal relationships with them, talking to them,” Dunn said. “And I pay attention to what’s around me, I pay attention to everything.”