Family of deceased US Capitol police officer refuses to shake hands with ‘two-faced’ Republican leaders

Washington: The mother and brother of police officer Brian Sicknick, who died in the days following the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, declined to shake the hand of top Republicans Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell at a medal ceremony on Tuesday.

After greeting top Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer at the award ceremony held in the Capitol Building, Gladys and Ken Sicknick walked by McCarthy and McConnell, the top Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate, respectively, without acknowledging them.

McConnell had reached out his hand, in an apparent handshake attempt.

In video broadcast of the event, at least two police officials could be seen similarly spurning McConnell and McCarthy.

Reuters could not immediately identify them, but Washington’s district police force as well as the specialised police force in charge of security at the Capitol building were present. Representatives of other law enforcement agencies were also at the ceremony.

The decision by multiple attendees to spurn Republican leaders illustrates how emotions are still running high over the 2021 attack on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, who initially declined to call off the rioters.

The support some Republicans gave to the rioters became a major campaign issue in the 2022 midterm elections, and will likely remain an issue in the 2024 presidential race.

“They’re just two-faced,” Gladys Sicknick told CNN.

“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 (Trump’s) ring and come back and stand here and sit with – it just, it just hurts.”

No shake: Charles and Gladys Sicknick, father and mother of slain US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Credit:AP

Washington’s chief medical examiner ruled that Sicknick died of natural causes following multiple strokes after the attack on the Capitol.

Asked about the incident on Tuesday, McConnell did not address the ceremony directly.

“We admire and respect them. They laid their lives on the line. And that’s why we gave a gold medal today to the heroes of January 6th,” he told reporters.

McCarthy’s office did not immediately respond to a comment request on Tuesday.

The chairman of the US House of Representatives committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack said that the panel had decided to make criminal referrals to the Department of Justice.

“Yes,” Representative Bennie Thompson told reporters when asked about the topic. He did not elaborate on who might be referred, when or on what charges.

A referral does not necessarily mean that the Justice Department, which is conducting its own investigation of the riot, will decide to file charges.

The Democratic-led House Select Committee has spent more than a year investigating the attack on the Capitol by thousands of supporters of Donald Trump, after the then-Republican president gave a fiery speech false claiming that his defeat by Democrat Joe Biden was the result of fraud.


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