Loved ones of a fallen police officer who defended the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, are not ready to make nice with politicians who enabled rhetoric that spawned the attempted coup.
On Tuesday, the Capitol and D.C. police departments were awarded with the Congressional Gold Medal for their officers' bravery in protecting members of Congress from angry rioters at the Capitol building, even as they were far-outnumbered.
The ceremony, held in the Capitol Rotunda, was emotional at times, joyous at others and tense at one moment in particular: when the parents and brothers of late Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick warmly greeted Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer before walking right past Republican Leaders Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy.
Sen. McConnell's hand remained outstretched as each Sicknick ignored it, one by one.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon Gladys Sicknick warmly greets Chuck Schumer before ignoring Mitch McConnell's outstretched arm
Asked afterward why she didn't greet McConnell and McCarthy, Brian's mother, Gladys, told CNN, "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 [Donald Trump's] ring and come back and stand here and sit with — it just, it just hurts," she said.
Sipa via AP Images Congressional leaders Chuck Schumer (D), Mitch McConnell (R) and Kevin McCarthy (R)
Her comments appeared more pointed toward McCarthy, since McConnell's ongoing feud with former President Donald Trump has put them on bad terms. As House minority leader, McCarthy has visited Mar-a-Lago multiple times and strategically shifted his stances on Trump to cater to the popular opinion of the moment.
Still, considering the Republican Party's role in inciting the violence that took their loved one, the Sicknicks struggled to find appreciation for either of the GOP's current leaders.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor that Congress can bestow, and can only be awarded with the passing of a bill by a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate.
"January 6 was a day of horror and heartbreak. It is also a moment of extraordinary heroism," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at the ceremony, in one of her final acts before stepping down from congressional leadership. "Staring down deadly violence and despicable bigotry, our law enforcement officers bravely stood in the breach ensuring that democracy survived on that dark day."
D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee commended his officers, saying, "You did not give up. You did not give in. And yes, you were vastly outnumbered. But you were determined, exhausted and injured. It will show your sweat and your tears that mark these realms where we stand today. You show the world just a glimpse of what we are."