There is no question that our country is still incredibly divided after the deadly Capitol uprising on January 6, 2021. But congressional Republicans and former President Donald Trump have made it difficult for our country to heal by the “big lie” that led to the rioters to storm the Capitol.
On Tuesday, the contempt for Republican leaders and their silence in condemning the violence was on full display at the Congressional gold medal ceremony. Recipients were the heroic law enforcement officers from the US Capitol Police and DC Metropolitan Police Department who protected the Capitol on Jan. 6.
It was a much-needed dramatic and unscripted moment in a ceremony that is normally anything but.
Like some refused to shake hands with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, it was a much-needed dramatic and unscripted moment in a ceremony that is usually anything but. McConnell and McCarthy cannot just go on as if these moments just go on. These leaders and any other elected official who has spoken out about supporting the baseless allegations of stolen elections or standing in the way of holding those responsible to account deserve to be snubbed.
Among those who refused to acknowledge McConnell and McCarthy was the family of fallen police officer Brian Sicknick, who suffered two strokes and died of natural causes the day after the attack.
After the ceremony, Sicknick’s mother told CNN that they had refused to shake hands with McConnell and McCarthy because she considers them “two-faced” for claiming support for law enforcement while simultaneously singing Trump’s praises and “kissing his ring.”
And indeed, that is what happened. At the ceremony, McConnell praised the bravery of the officers protecting the Capitol on January 6. he said. “Because you honored your oath to support and defend the Constitution, we were able to honor ours. That is a reality that became particularly clear 23 months ago. But it’s true every day.” And McCarthy said“Too many people take that for granted, but days like today force us to realize how much we owe the thin blue line.”
But it’s not hard to see how the feelings are perceived as insincere when McCarthy has done that walked back his first statements calling on Trump to take responsibility for what happened on January 6 and has refused to cooperate with his colleagues on the House Select Committee investigating what happened that day. When asked by the committee in January to voluntarily provide information about his communications with the White House, he responded by describing the committee’s work as “an abuse of power that tarnishes this institution today and will harm it in the future.”
In addition, in a quest to win the speakership, McCarthy has indicated that once the GOP takes control of the House next month, it will to research the acts of the January 6 select committee investigating the attack. He and many of his GOP colleagues have made it abundantly clear that they believe the investigation was purely a political vehicle to attack Trump. Rather than acknowledging the bipartisan nature of the committee and the transparent work it has done to determine why and how our democracy was under attack, McCarthy and other House Republicans preferred to play politics.
While McConnell has condemned Trump for his actions, he still did not support an investigation. Through a filibuster in May 2021, he blocked the creation of an independent commission to investigate the attack and made it clear to his GOP senate colleagues for the vote that he did not support the commission.
Getting to the bottom of what happened on January 6 and ensuring that those responsible are held accountable has fallen on the shoulders of House Democrats with the support and participation of only two Republicans, Representatives Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Liz Cheney of Wyoming – both of whom were censored by the RNCwill not serve in the next Congress and have been outspoken critics of Trump.
Even the decision to recognize the brave officers who fought against the rioters was divisive. Despite the extreme suffering officers faced and their heroics that day, there were 21 House Republicans who voted against awarding all first responders with Congressional Gold Medals – Congress’ highest honor – in a floor vote in June 2021. The reason? Well, it included his opposition to calling the attack an “insurrection” and the Capitol a “temple.”
Many of the law enforcement officers who risked their lives defending the Capitol and members of Congress inside were injured by the violent rioters, and the trauma even caused some officers to commit suicide in the days and weeks after the violent attack. The Congressional gold medal ceremony on Tuesday was a moment for these heroes to be recognized for their service and sacrifice, and it served as an important reminder that Republican leaders will not be able to boast that their party has a platform that defies the law. supports. enforcement and the Constitution when their actions show the exact opposite.