Members of the U.S. Capitol Police and of D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on Tuesday to honor their actions to defend the Capitol on January 6, 2021. All four leaders of the House and Senate were on hand as the officers and their families were awarded Congress’s highest honor.
But when it came time to present the medals to the recipients, one family sent a pointed message. Family members of Officer Brian Sicknick, a Capitol Police officer who died following injuries sustained during the riot, shook hands with both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer while walking past Republican leaders Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy without acknowledging them.
Speaking to reporters following the ceremony, Sicknick’s brother Ken explained why they did it, saying that McConnell and McCarthy have been hypocritical when it comes to Donald Trump, who incited the attack on the Capitol. “They came out right away and condemned what happened on January 6. And then whatever hold that Trump has on them, they’ve backstepped. They’ve danced. They won’t admit to wrongdoing, not necessarily them themselves, but of Trump, of the rioters,” he said.
Gladys Sicknick, Brian’s mother, also refused to shake the hands of the Republicans, telling a reporter, “They’re just 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.”
In the days following the Capitol riot, McCarthy said Trump “bears responsibility,” but he ultimately voted against impeaching him for his actions that day and has since been photographed with the former president at his home in Mar-a-Lago. McConnell called Trump “practically and morally responsible” for what happened on January 6 but also voted to acquit him during a Senate impeachment trial after he left the White House.