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Why 12 Republicans Voted Against Awarding Congressional Medals to Capitol and Metro Police


The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted in favor of a resolution to award Congressional Gold Medals to the law enforcement officials who defended members from the violent and deadly insurrection on Jan. 6. But the vote raised eyebrows because a small faction of Republican members voted against the resolution. Why? Because they objected to how the measure described those involved in storming the Capitol.

According to several news outlets, the 12 Republicans refused to sign onto the measure because it implied that the events of Jan. 6 constituted an insurrection by designating members of the pro-Donald Trump mob who illegally entered the Capitol Complex as “insurrectionists.”

According to the Washington Post, the measure read as follows: “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.”

It further stated: “The desecration of the U.S. Capitol, which is the temple of our American Democracy, and the violence targeting Congress are horrors that will forever stain our Nation’s history.”

Those who voted in the negative were largely the chamber’s far-right members, many of whom have been staunch defenders of the former president through even his most controversial conduct, including: Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Michael Cloud (Tex.), Andrew S. Clyde (Ga.), Thomas Massie (Ky.), Andy Harris (Md.), Lance Gooden (Tex.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Louie Gohmert (Tex.), Greg Steube (Fla.), Bob Good (Va.) and John Rose (Tenn.).

“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, and … that was a little much for me,” Rep. Gaetz told the Washington Post following the vote.

Rep. Massie told the Post that the resolution’s reference to the Capitol as a “temple” of American democracy was “too sacrilegious” for him.

Reps. Good, Harris, and Gohmert all attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D). Gohmert introduced his own bill that removed the references to insurrectionists (it did not move forward).

“The men and women on the thin blue line, including the brave men and women of the United States Capitol Police, should never be used as props for politically charged publicity stunts like this bill,” Rep. Andy Harris said in a statement. “I truly commend the Capitol Police for their actions on January 6th, and am very grateful for their service in keeping us safe each day. But I cannot support partisan charged language found in this bill.”

The measure is expected to pass in the Senate.

[image via SUSAN WALSH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.