During an exchange with Sen. Josh Hawley at a Senate hearing Tuesday, former U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Chief Steven Sund called recent comments by retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré “disrespectful” to USCP officers who were defending the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Honoré gained fame for his role in the response to Hurricane Katrina but has more recently appeared on cable news and other mediums as a commentator. In one interview on MSNBC in the days following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, Honoré slammed the Capitol Police and the House and Senate sergeants at arms, claiming “complicity” in the riot.
“Mr. Sund, were you complicit in this attack on Jan. 6?” Hawley, R-Mo., asked Sund, who resigned after the security failures of the attack.
“Absolutely not, sir. I’ve heard those comments as well. And I think it’s disrespectful to myself and the members of the Capitol Police Department,” Sund said.
Lt. Gen. Russel Honore delivers remarks during a Hurricane Katrina memorial service in New Orleans 29 August 2007 on the second anniversary of the disaster. AFP PHOTO/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images)
Hawley also asked former Senate Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper Michael Stenger and former House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving if they were complicit in the attack.
“Absolutely not, senator,” Irving replied. Stenger appeared to be having technical issues and could not reply.
“Of course none of you were,” Hawley said. “There’s absolutely no evidence to that effect and I think your comments are appropriately taken. To allege that you — any of you — were complicit in this violent mob attack on this building I think is not only extremely disrespectful. It’s really quite shocking. And this person has no business leading any security review relating to the events of Jan. 6.”
Honoré specifically said on MSNBC that he believes the police officers at the U.S. Capitol will be found to be partially responsible for the attack, which forced hundreds of lawmakers and former Vice President Pence into hiding.
“I think once this all gets uncovered, it was complicit actions by Capitol Police,” Honoré also said in his MSNBC interview. Honoré continued to say investigation needs to determine whether former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund “was … complicit along with the sergeant at arms in the House and the Senate.”
Despite this and other controversial comments by Honoré, Pelosi has stood by her pick to read the Capitol security review.
“General Honoré is a committed public servant whose name is synonymous with integrity and professionalism. His efforts to review the U.S. Capitol’s security infrastructure, interagency processes and procedures and command and control have included seeking bipartisan input in order to achieve its mission,” spokesman Drew Hammill told Fox News. “There is no room for partisanship in the Speaker’s efforts to make the U.S. Capitol a safe place for staff, workers, press and Members.”
Pelosi in a letter to her Democratic House members this week said, “It is also clear from General Honoré’s interim reporting that we must put forth a supplemental appropriation to provide for the safety of Members and the security of the Capitol.”
Notably last week, the Capitol Police suspended six officers and were investigating 35 others for actions on Jan. 6.
The investigation into the January 6 attack remains under investigation,” the department said in a statement. “Our Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the actions of 35 police officers from that day. We currently have suspended six of those officers with pay. Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman has directed that any member of her department whose behavior is not in keeping with the Department’s Rules of Conduct will face appropriate discipline.”
The breach of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob followed a speech by the former president earlier in the day in which he encouraged the crowd to march to the Capitol — including one instance when he said they should march “peacefully and patriotically.”
Eventually, the large pro-Trump mob overwhelmed the Capitol police and breached the Capitol, forcing hundreds of lawmakers and Pence into hiding as they ransacked the building.
Trump was eventually impeached for allegedly inciting an insurrection in the Capitol riot, but was not convicted at the Senate trial last week.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Leah Crawley contributed to this report.