- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 6, 2022

The family of a fallen police officer refused to shake hands with Republicans during a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony Tuesday to honor those who responded to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

After accepting the award on behalf of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died of natural causes one day after responding to the Capitol riot, the family snubbed Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leaders in the Senate and House, respectively, who stood on stage during the presentation.

Sicknick’s brother, Ken Sicknick, said the gesture was in protest of Republican lawmakers’ refusal to swiftly condemn the attack.

“Whatever hold that Trump has on them, they’ve backstepped,” he said in an interview with CBS News correspondent Scott MacFarlane following the ceremony. “They’ve danced. They won’t admit to wrongdoing, not necessarily them themselves, but of Trump, of the rioters.”

Mr. Sicknick specifically mentioned Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican, who presented an honorary American flag that flew over the Capitol for convicted rioter Dr. Simone Gold after she was released from prison in September.

Mr. Gohmert called Gold a “patriot and an American hero” who was held as a “political prisoner” by the Biden administration.

“It’s disgusting,” Ken Sicknick said. “It takes away the heroism that my brother showed.”

He added Mr. McConnell and Mr. McCarthy “have no idea what integrity is.”

“They can’t stand up for what is right and what is wrong,” he said. “With them, it’s party first.”

Mr. Sicknick’s mother, Gladys Sicknick, called the lawmakers “two-faced.”

“I’m just tired of them standing there and saying how wonderful the Capitol police is and then they turn around and … go down to Mar-a-Lago and kiss his ring and come back and stand here and sit with — it just, it just hurts,” she told CNN.

The Senate unanimously passed legislation last year to award the medals in tribute to the hundreds of officers who responded to the Capitol attacks. The legislation passed overwhelmingly in the House as well, despite 21 Republicans who voted against the bill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened Tuesday’s ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda by offering praise for the “extraordinary heroism” displayed by those who responded to the attack.

She praised the officers for “courageously answering the call to defend our democracy in one of the nation’s darkest hours.”

Republicans also praised the officers during their remarks at the ceremony.

“I hope every American will see this award and feel the gratitude for every law enforcement officer who answers the call of duty every day, but especially the Capitol Police officers and the [Metropolitan Police Department],” Mr. McCarthy said.

Mr. McConnell thanked the officers for “having our backs.”

“Thank you for saving our country,” he said. “Thank you for not only being our friends, but our heroes.”

- This article is based in part on wire service reports.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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