Gold confirmed to The Washington Post that she is the person pictured carrying a bullhorn on the Capitol grounds Wednesday in FBI and D.C. police bulletins seeking more information about individuals who were present.
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 efforts to contain the coronavirus. Strand is pictured next to her in the photos circulated by the FBI and D.C. police.
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.
A 30-second video of a person who appeared to be Gold speaking on the tiled Rotunda floor has been circulating on social media. Gold confirmed to The Post that the video depicts her. In the video, two police officers stand behind Gold, appearing to gesture at her and others in an attempt to get them to leave.
In the echo of the Rotunda, most of her words are inaudible in the video, other than “I’m a mom” and “massive medical establishment.”
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 first gained notoriety 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.
The following month, the Food and Drug Administration withdrew its emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, drugs that Trump had repeatedly promoted for treatment of covid-19. Federal health officials, citing scientific evidence, said that the drug is “unlikely to be effective” for covid-19 and that any potential benefits are outweighed by safety risks, including heart problems.
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. The participants’ speeches were live-streamed by the conservative media outlet Breitbart and viewed online more than 14 million times — fueled by a tweet by Donald Trump Jr. and multiple retweets by the president, which have since been deleted. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube later removed the video.
Gold told The Post she worked as an emergency room physician for two hospitals at the time but was “promptly fired” after the event and has not worked as a doctor since.
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.