January 6 officers and relatives snub top Republicans at gold medal ceremony

Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy denounced as ‘two-faced’ by Brian Sicknick’s mother at Congressional Gold Medal event

Senior Republicans Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy were snubbed by law enforcement leaders and a fallen officer’s family at Tuesday’s Congressional Gold Medal award ceremony for Capitol police who defended against the 6 January attacks.

The pair were denounced as “two-faced” by the mother of Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after a mob of Donald Trump supporters ransacked the Capitol building and forced politicians to flee for their lives.

McConnell, the Senate minority leader, was caught on video with his hand outstretched, waiting in line for handshakes that never came as senior officers and Sicknick’s parents warmly greeted the Democratic House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer.

The relatives and officers in uniform then walked straight past the Republican duo, barely looking at them.

“They’re just two-faced. I’m just tired of them standing there and saying how wonderful the Capitol police is, and they turn around and … go down to Mar-a-Lago and kiss [Trump’s] ring,” Sicknick’s mother, Gladys Sicknick, said, according to a tweet by CNN congressional reporter Daniella Diaz.

“It just hurts.”

Sicknick’s brother, Ken, was also forthright. “They have no idea what integrity is. They can’t stand up for what’s right and wrong,” he said.

McCarthy, who hopes to become speaker when Republicans take over the House majority next month, was widely condemned for what analysts said was a pilgrimage to Trump’s Florida resort in the days after the insurrection.

After initially saying he held the outgoing president responsible for the violence of his supporters, McCarthy worked hard to regain Trump’s trust, and has promised he will investigate the January 6 bipartisan House panel who are looking into the events of that day.

McConnell, similarly, has been criticized for not standing up to Trump.

The book Unchecked, published in September by Rachael Bade of Politico and Karoun Demirjian of the Washington Post, claimed McConnell called Trump “crazy” and vowed never to speak to him again after 6 January.

But like McCarthy before him, McConnell has backed away from his original stance, and in April said he would support Trump again if he ran for the presidency. Trump announced his 2024 candidacy last month.

Michael Fanone, a DC Metropolitan Police officer beaten and injured in the attack, has previously branded McCarthy “a weasel” for actions and words after the riot. Fanone attended Tuesday’s ceremony, but says he was heckled by some former colleagues.

“They called me a piece of shit and mockingly called me a great fucking hero while clapping,” Fanone said, according to an NBC justice reporter, Ryan Reilly.

Before the snub, McCarthy said that “days like today force us to realize how much we owe the thin blue line”.

Fanone, who has since retired, was not impressed. “I’m surprised Kevin McCarthy showed up. I thought that he would be busy trying to figure out how to suspend the constitution on behalf of former president Trump,” he told CNN.

Contributor

Richard Luscombe

The GuardianTramp

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