The Senate has now voted via unanimous consent to award Congressional Gold Medals to the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police for their work responding to the deadly January riot at the Capitol. The House already passed the measure in June, so now, only a signature from President Joe Biden remains. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said this week that “January 6 unleashed many horrors, but it also revealed many heroes.” Just recently, four of these “heroes” testified before the House committee investigating the Capitol riot. Two D.C. officers and two Capitol officers explained some of the horrors that they experienced while fighting for their lives against rampaging Trump supporters.
The measure itself says that the medals are to be awarded “so that the sacrifices of fallen officers and their families, and the contributions of other law enforcement agencies who answered the call of duty on January 6, 2021, can be recognized and honored in a timely manner.” Troublingly, the news emerged this week that the total number of officers who responded to the riot at the Capitol and have now died by suicide stands at four. During that recent hearing of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, D.C. officer Michael Fanone insisted with fitting passion that the “indifference” displayed towards his fellow officers has been “disgraceful.” Fanone was beaten and tased by Trump supporters during the riot, suffering a heart attack in connection to his injuries.
Schumer also said this week that the “gold medal is about setting the record straight,” adding that “we have a moral obligation to never forget what our first responders faced down.” Certain Republicans have prominently attempted to downplay what happened at the Capitol, and connected to those antics, prominent right-wingers have also publicly derided the officers who have spoken about their experiences in the aftermath of the assault. Fox News host Laura Ingraham, for instance, characterized the recent hearing where officers testified as a “performance,” although each of the officers’ lives were in danger that day.