A doctor and outspoken critic of the coronavirus vaccine was among those who entered the Capitol building last week during the siege that disrupted the certification of the 2020 presidential election.
Simone Gold gained national attention in July when she and other physicians appeared in front of the Supreme Court to decry pandemic lockdowns and criticize government methods to stop the spread of the disease. Video of the event, organized by conservative activists, was retweeted by the president and viewed by millions before social media platforms took it down.
Although dozens of Capitol Police officers were injured when they were overrun by pro-Trump protesters and one later died as a result, Gold said she did not witness any violence.
“I can certainly speak to the place that I was, and it most emphatically was not a riot,” the California resident said in a phone interview Monday. “Where I was, was incredibly peaceful.”
Gold confirmed that she went inside the Capitol, saying she followed a crowd and assumed that it was legal to do so. She said she had not been contacted by anyone in law enforcement.
After Trump supporters gathered on the Capitol grounds, tensions soon boiled over and an angry mob assaulted the building, breaking through doors and windows. Vice President Pence was moved to a secure location in the complex. Police sought to evacuate lawmakers and their staffers, but some locked down in rooms behind makeshift barricades.
Gold said she traveled to Washington to speak at a “Rally for Health Freedom” on the east side of the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon.
She attended the rally along with John Strand, the communications director for America’s Frontline Doctors, a group she founded last year to speak out against the government’s approach to contain the coronavirus.
Asked for comment, Strand wrote in a statement to The Post that he was at the event to assist Gold and “ensure her safety.”
Gold and about a dozen others were expected to speak after President Trump addressed supporters gathered for a large rally near the White House. But Gold said that as she was about to give her speech at 1 p.m., someone in the crowd told her that all speeches were canceled.
Gold said she followed the crowd up the steps and into the building. She estimated she was inside the Capitol for about 20 minutes before police ushered everyone out. She used some of that time to give the speech she had planned to make earlier.
Gold said she gave the same speech she delivered the previous day at a rally in the District’s Freedom Plaza, where Trump supporters were beginning to gather ahead of the “Stop the Steal” events.
During that speech, she referred to the coronavirus vaccine as an “experimental, biological agent deceptively named a vaccine.”
Gold was first noticed for an open letter to the president in May in which she called shutdowns imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus “a mass casualty incident.” She claimed that as a hospital physician she had seen hydroxychloroquine work as a treatment against the deadly virus.
Gold’s letter led to her participation in the event in July, organized with the support of the Tea Party Patriots group and featuring her group, America’s Frontline Doctors.
Gold said she was worried that photos of her inside the Capitol would distract from her advocacy work with America’s Frontline Doctors.
“I do regret being there,” Gold said.