Former U.S. Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, in an interview with SiriusXM radio host Dean Obeidallah, expressed his belief that former President Donald Trump facing incarceration and being banned from the ballot would help him and other officers find closure. However, he also conveyed his willingness to accept a “not guilty” verdict.
The discussion took place on “The Dean Obeidallah Show” where Gonell, the author of the upcoming book “American Shield: The Immigrant Sergeant Who Defended Democracy,” was asked what justice would look like for himself and the officers who endured the trauma of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
As reported by Mediaite on Saturday, November 4, 2023, Obeidallah posed the crucial question to Gonell:
“What would be justice in your point of view, for yourself and the other officers who suffered so greatly, and some have taken their own lives, for Donald Trump’s role in this January 6 attack on our Capitol.”
Gonell responded by holding the former president accountable for his role in the events. He emphasized that as the President of the United States, Trump had significant influence, and he pointed out how Trump had encouraged his supporters to go to the Capitol and incited the crowd.
Gonell mentioned that even when Trump’s advisers, including his own daughter and chief of staff, informed him that the situation had escalated into a riot, he failed to take immediate action to de-escalate the situation. Gonell believed that Trump’s influence was substantial, and if he had urged the crowd to disperse, they would have likely listened.
The former sergeant underscored the severity of the attack, as it occurred in broad daylight, and it was essentially an assault on his own government, with key figures in the line of presidential succession, including the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, and the President pro tempore of the Senate, in grave danger.
This, combined with the presence of the nuclear codes and the lives of Mike Pence, his daughter, and his wife being at risk, constituted a significant national security threat.
Gonell expressed frustration with those who continued to make excuses for Trump, highlighting that he faced multiple counts of indictment. When asked about what closure meant to him, Gonell’s response was open-ended.
He suggested that it could manifest in various ways, such as Trump being barred from political office, incarceration, or financial losses due to the risks he had exposed others to. He emphasized his confidence in allowing the legal system to run its course and accepting the outcome, even if it turned out to be a “not guilty” verdict.
Gonell concluded by urging against dismissing everything as a witch hunt, emphasizing that not everything falls into that category.
The interview shed light on the complex emotions and perspectives of those who experienced the events of January 6, 2021, and the desire for accountability and justice.