Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman had already been widely recognized for his actions during the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol building, luring rioters away from the Senate chambers where many lawmakers were sheltering.
“But there’s more to his heroic story,” Stacey Plasket, the congressional delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands, argued Wednesday afternoon during the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump for inciting the riot.
Security footage shown for the first time during the trial Wednesday revealed how Goodman directed Utah Sen. Mitt Romney toward safety during the attack on the Capitol.
In the footage, Romney can be seen walking down a second-floor Capitol hallway, before Goodman comes running in his direction and signaling to the Republican senator and former Massachusetts governor to turn around. In response, Romney turns and runs.
According to Plasket, the mob of Trump supporters — hoping to stop the certification of last fall’s presidential results — were already on the first floor searching for the Senate chambers when Goodman directed Romney in the other direction.
Romney told reporters Wednesday evening at the Capitol that he hadn’t realized it was Goodman at the time, but planned on thanking him.
“I was very fortunate indeed that Officer Goodman was there to get me in the right direction,” Romney said.
“Obviously very troubling to see the great violence that our Capitol Police and others are subjected to,” he added. “It tears at your heart and brings tears to your eyes. That was overwhelmingly distressing and emotional.”
Romney: “Obviously very troubling to see the great violence that our Capitol Police and others are subjected to. It tears at your heart and brings tears to your eyes. That was overwhelmingly distressing and emotional.”
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) February 10, 2021
Goodman would go on to continue downstairs where he confronted the group, briefly stopping them, before slowly backing away and retreating up the stairs. Previously released footage showed how Goodman, once on the second floor, worked to bait the rioters away from the entrance to the Senate chamber, lightly pushing one of them and then leading them in the opposite direction.
The footage shown Wednesday included an overhead graphic depicting how Vice President Mike Pence and his family were still in a nearby room at the time, before evacuating through stairs near the Senate chamber’s entrance.
As the Washington Post reported last month, Goodman’s action likely prevented a violent confrontation; not only were some rioters carrying things like baseball bats and zip ties, but armed officers – including one with a semiautomatic weapon – were reportedly securing the doors to the Senate chamber where lawmakers were at the time.
Last month, several dozen senators, including Romney, introduced a bill to honor Goodman with the Congressional Gold Medal. The text of the bill says that he “doubtlessly saved lives.”
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