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A dozen House Republicans voted Thursday against awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the U.S. Capitol Police for its role in the January 6 Capitol insurrection. They apparently didn’t like the word “insurrection.”
The House voted 413-12 Wednesday to award three Congressional Gold Medals to police for their actions on January 6 that will be displayed at Capitol and Metropolitan (D.C.) police headquarters as well as at The Smithsonian. The 12 House members who voted against the resolution are the usual characters, including Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, and Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, all of whom took issue with the characterization of what happened as an insurrection.
“We now know there was no armed insurrection,” Gohmert said Wednesday, according to CNN. “Nobody had arms, so we're just trying to keep it honest so that we only put truthful things in the bill.”
The bill now heads to the Senate, which last month voted to award Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman a Congressional Gold Medal.
“On January 6, 2021, a mob of insurrectionists forced its way into the U.S. Capitol building and congressional office buildings and engaged in acts of vandalism, looting, and violently attacked Capitol Police officers,” the resolution says, going on to refer to Congress as “the temple of our American democracy” and saying the January riot “will forever stain our nation’s history.”
Five people died as a result of that day’s violence, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, and at least 138 members of the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department were injured. Two officers who responded have since died by suicide, Capitol Police officer Howard Liebengood and MPD officer Jeffrey Smith.
At the same time, the Capitol Police is investigating nearly three dozen officers for their conduct during the riot, and already six have been suspended with pay.
An alternative resolution Gohmert introduced apparently contained no mention of the attack, according to a copy obtained by Politico.
“We mourn the losses of Capitol Police Officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood, and Metropolitan Police Department Officer Jeffrey Smith, who all passed in January 2021,” said a draft of the bill, according to Politico.
“The sacrifices made by each of these men are never forgotten in the U.S. Congress and by the many individuals who benefit from their service,” Gohmert’s bill reportedly added.
The text of the bill has not been released, but it was co-sponsored by more than a dozen Republicans, including Greene, who was kicked off her committees last month for her conduct, including endorsements of violence against her current colleagues.
“I cosponsored @replouiegohmert’s PRO police bill,” Greene tweeted Wednesday.
Gaetz said he also had a problem with displaying one of the medals at a museum.
“We had to combine it with these editorial comments about the January 6 sequence of events, and then we had to logroll it with this exhibit at the Smithsonian,” he told the Washington Post. “That was a little much for me.”
Despite the opposition, the resolution passed overwhelmingly and is expected to clear the Senate as well. Following the vote, Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer ripped the resolution’s opponents.
“It is deeply unfortunate that a number of House Republicans opposed this action as they attempt to erase the events of January 6 and deny the responsibility of a far-right, insurrectionist mob incited by former President Trump,” Hoyer said in a statement. “Such disrespect for the heroes who courageously tried to protect the American people’s Capitol is disgusting.”