Was this all a stunt to get a White House pass? We ask Capitol police

The University of Illinois student who was caught on camera smashing windows on the Capitol Hill side of the Capitol Building on Tuesday morning had been unable to silence Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Mitch McConnell and was “actively looking to physically remove” them, the federal prosecutors overseeing the case said Saturday.

Caroline MacDonald has been charged with destruction of property, causing serious bodily injury and assault of federal officers.

The 22-year-old student used a baseball bat to attack several tourist vehicles and bust the windows of Pelosi’s office on the Senate side of the Capitol on Tuesday, prosecutors said in a court document filed Friday. The vandalism cost an estimated $5,000.

Court documents, which also include a sworn statement by Capitol Police Detective James Riddle, indicate that MacDonald was wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap and had been identified on security cameras “brandishing a bat, wearing a MAGA hat and carrying a white book with a the most important logo on it — the American flag.”

The first police officer to arrive on the scene said MacDonald acted as if she wanted to “knock her teeth out,” Riddle’s affidavit states. She was restrained by multiple officers but refused to take her hands out of her pockets and made “loud noises” while kicking and screaming that no one should arrest her.

After the “assault had left a “bad taste in [the officer’s] mouth,” another officer tried to use a stun gun on MacDonald to subdue her, the affidavit states. The weapon failed to work, so the officer deployed a taser to subdue her, but that officer had to disorient her by smacking her with his knee twice to avoid more being hit, the affidavit states.

The young man did not obey the law of the United States as it was set forth, according to the affidavit, and her attack “threatened the security of the Senate and the Capitol Building and the personal safety of sworn U.S. Capitol Police officers and did so during a large gathering of guests for a U.S. Capitol event.”

The incident took place as part of House Democrats’ weekly luncheon on Tuesday. Pelosi was at the event but “was not physically assaulted,” a Pelosi spokesman said.

MacDonald was sentenced to a year of house arrest, a year of supervised release and 120 hours of community service as part of a plea deal. She was expelled from her Illinois high school earlier this year.

MacDonald was referred to federal court on Feb. 14 after the vandalizing, and a status conference was scheduled for Feb. 21.

Pelosi was in her office when the vandalism took place, and McConnell had made an appearance in his office just before the incident.

Police say when they arrived on the scene, McDonald had fled and was “removing the wreckage that she had left behind.”

Pelosi, House Democrats and the Republican National Committee had been hosting Democratic and Republican Members of Congress, staffers and their families for lunch on Tuesday.

Shattered glass covered the ground outside the Strom Thurmond Room, where the luncheon was being held. Several tourists and journalists were injured.

While Pelosi’s office suffered only minor damage, the incident was apparently the culmination of an earlier outburst, police say. A Capitol Police report shows MacDonald grabbed a wooden sign belonging to the Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee and held it over her head at the Capitol Visitor Center a short time before.

Pelosi had previously tweeted a statement decrying the vandalism.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment