At Jan. 6 Medal Ceremony, Officers Ignore GOP Leaders

Honorees have criticized response of McConnell, McCarthy to the attack
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2022 4:29 PM CST
Jan. 6 Officers, Relatives Snub GOP Leaders at Ceremony
Washington Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges, left, and US Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman speak with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony Tuesday at the Capitol.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Police officers who defended the US Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack accepted Congressional Gold Medals on Tuesday but not the congratulations of Republican leaders. All senior congressional leaders took part in the ceremony honoring US Capitol Police officers; Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police; and others, Politico reports. "May this medal—the highest honor that Congress can bestow—serve as a token of our nation's deepest gratitude and respect: not as full but as a token," Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the honorees.

The officers and family members moved down a line shaking hands with Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer as they accepted the medals. But they did not shake hands with House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy or Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, though he put out his right hand. Among those snubbing the Republicans were relatives of Brian Sicknick, a Capitol Police officer who died shortly after the attack. Some congressional Republicans have diminished the seriousness of the violence, and McCarthy has largely excused former President Donald Trump from responsibility in encouraging the attack. Former DC officer Michael Fanone is among those who have been critical of McCarthy's response. Fanone suffered a heart attack and traumatic brain injury while trying to stop the siege.

Although he's referred to the attack as a "violent insurrection," McConnell voted against creating a bipartisan commission to investigate it, as did McCarthy. McConnell also voted to acquit Trump in his impeachment trial over his part in the uprising. Both spoke at the ceremony Tuesday, praising the officers. Asked later about the snub, per CNN, McConnell said: "We gave the gold medal to the heroes of Jan. 6. We admire and respect them." The measure authorizing the honor cleared the Senate on a unanimous voice vote. In the House, 21 Republicans voted no. (Read more Capitol attack stories.)

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