Here Are the Excuses Republicans Are Giving for Voting Against Honoring Capitol Police Officers

·11 min read
Capitol Breach-Ohio - Credit: John Minchillo/AP
Capitol Breach-Ohio - Credit: John Minchillo/AP

Members of Congress face plenty of tough decisions when voting on legislation that can shape the course of the nation. The measure to award a congressional gold medal to the Capitol Police officers who responded to the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol should not have been one of them. Nevertheless, 21 Republicans voted against it.

Voting against honoring the police officers who responded to the riot that resulted in five deaths, including that of an officer, is hard to understand, especially from members of the party that prides itself on upholding law and order and backing the blue. “This is shameful and embarrassing,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) tweeted. “What the men and women of our @CapitolPolice and @DCPoliceDept went through that day to protect and serve in the face of a violent mob—it deserves to be recognized with the highest honor the House can bestow.”

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What’s even more puzzling is that 10 of the 21 Republicans who voted against the measure voted in favor of a similar measure back in March. What could have possibly changed in the past three months to change their minds about honoring the officers who responded on January 6th, and why did 11 others vote against honoring Capitol Police officers twice? Here’s what they’re saying:

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.)

CNN’s Manu Raju says Biggs ignored his question about why he opposed the bill. Biggs posted a video explaining his reasoning on Wednesday, explaining that he wanted the bill to be “non-political” appreciation of police officers. He also accused Democrats of hypocrisy for wanting to honor Capitol Police officers while also “supporting defund police movements across this country.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.)

Boebert voted against the measure despite voting in favor of the legislation in March. In explaining her vote on Tuesday, Boebert’s office referenced the new bill’s mention of the officer who died in April after a man deliberately rammed a car into a barricade outside the Capitol.

“Once again Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats prove that there is no level they won’t stoop to,” her office said in a statement provided to Rolling Stone. “Using the death of an officer in April to try and score cheap political points is shameful. I’m not here to play their partisan games.”

Boebert is no stranger to voting against common-sense measure in order to make a point … or something. In April, she and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene were the only two members of the House to vote against reauthorizing the National Marrow Donor Program. Boebert said she opposed reauthorizing the the program because it adds to the national debt and did not receive a score from the Congressional Budget Office.

Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas)

Cloud’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Rolling Stone.

Cloud said in March that he opposed honoring Capitol Police officers because the prior bill referred to the Capitol as a temple. “The federal government is not a god,” he explained, according to the Texas Tribune.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.)

Clyde’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Rolling Stone.

Clyde argued last month that the riot at the Capitol was nothing more than a “normal tourist visit,” despite the existence of multiple photos of Clyde helping barricade the doors of the House chamber closed after rioters breached the building.

Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio)

Davidson cited the bill’s mention of the officer who died in April after a man deliberately rammed a car into a barricade outside the Capitol in explaining why he opposed the bill.

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“He voted for the previous Gold Medal bill to honor the Capitol and DC Metro Police who responded on 1/6, but objected to yesterday’s bill which counted the death of an officer in an unrelated attack on 4/2 in its findings,” his office said in a statement provided to Rolling Stone.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)

Gaetz’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Rolling Stone.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)

Gohmert on Tuesday night tweeted that the bill “drives a narrative not substantiated by facts” and that he is introducing a separate bill “that serves as a tribute to our officers rather than using them as political pawns.”

Gohmert’s bill makes no mention of the insurrection.

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Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.)

Good’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Rolling Stone.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)

Gosar not only does not want to honor the officers who responded at the Capitol on January 6th, he spent Tuesday demanding the name of the officer who killed Ashli Babbitt, one of the rioters, claiming she was “executed.”

“It’s disturbing,” Gosar told FBI Director Christopher Wray during a hearing. “The Capitol Police officer that did that shooting appeared to be hiding, lying in wait and then gave no warning before killing her.” Gosar made similar comments during a hearing in May, praising Babbitt as a “young lady, a veteran wrapped in an American flag.”

“On January 6, as the violent mob advanced on the House chamber, I was standing near @RepGosar and helped him open his gas mask,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wy.) tweeted in response Gosar’s comments on Tuesday. “The Capitol Police led us to safety. It is disgusting and despicable to see Gosar lie about that day and smear the men and women who defended us.”

Gosar does not appear to have commented publicly on why he voted against honoring Capitol Police officers despite voting in favor of the legislation in March.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.)

“I wouldn’t call it an insurrection,” Green said in explaining why she voted against the measure, according to CNN’s Manu Raju. Greene also objected to the idea that the U.S. Capitol is “a temple of our democracy,” as it is described in the bill, according to Politico.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.)

Harris’ office said he opposed the bill because it refers to what happened on January 6th as an “insurrection,” which he argues could impact some of the outgoing criminal investigations related to the riot. “Regardless of our personal feeling on the events of that day, Congress must respect the Constitutional principles of due process and the rule of law, and not politicize honoring our Capitol Police heroes,” he said in a statement provided to Rolling Stone.

Harris noted that apart from the use of “insurrection,” the resolution was “commendable.”

Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.)

Hice’s vote is especially puzzling considering he voted in favor of another version of the same bill back in March. But as CNN’s Manu Raju points out, Hice has since launched a Trump-backed campaign for Georgia’s secretary of State.

In a statement provided to Rolling Stone, Hice’s office said he opposed the bill on Tuesday not because it references the William Evans, the officer who died in April, but because the bill did not provide a “meaningful explanation” of Evans’ death. “Officer Evans was killed on April 2 in the line of duty during an attack by a radical supporter of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam – an incident completely unrelated to the January 6 Capitol riot – and his sacrifice deserves to be recognized in full,” Hice’s office said.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.)

Rep. Massie’s office referred Rolling Stone to comments Massie made on CNN about how referring to what happened on January 6th as an “insurrection” could impact the cases of those charged as a result. “There are pending cases or trials right now, indictments against people, and I think if we called it an insurrection, it could have a bearing on their case,” he said. “If they just wanted to give the police recognition, they could have done it without trying to make it partisan.”

Massie’s office also said that he objected to describing the Capitol as a “temple” of democracy.

Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.)

Miller’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Rolling Stone. Miller is one of the 10 Republicans who voted against the bill despite voting in favor of similar legislation in March.

Rep. Barry Moore (R-Ala.)

Moore’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Rolling Stone.

Moore deleted his personal Twitter account in January after making light of the arrests made at the Capitol. He also tweeted that a black officer shooting a white rioter “doesn’t fit the narrative,” an ostensible reference to the death of Ashli Babbitt, one of the rioters.

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-Va.)

Norman’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Rolling Stone. Norman is one of the 10 Republicans who voted against the bill despite voting in favor of similar legislation in March.

In May, Norman questioned the idea that the rioters were Trump supporters. “I don’t know who did the poll to say that they were Trump supporters,” he said.

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Penn.)

Perry is one of the 10 Republicans who voted against the bill despite voting in favor of similar legislation in March. He does not appear to have commented publicly on why he voted against the bill on Tuesday, and Rolling Stone was unable to get in touch with his office.

Rep. John Rose (R-Tenn.)

Rose’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Rolling Stone.

Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mt.)

Rosendale is one of the 10 Republicans who voted against the bill despite voting in favor of similar legislation in March.

“Rep. Rosendale voted in favor of a bill to give gold medals to USCP in March,” his office explained in a statement provided to Rolling Stone. “Unfortunately, Nancy Pelosi is continuing to play politics with the events of that day and months later brought a bill to the floor with an unrelated act of violence at the Capitol perpetrated by an Islamic extremist—attempting to pin that act on protesters months prior.”

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas)

Roy is one of the 10 Republicans who voted against the bill despite voting in favor of similar legislation in March. He says he changed his vote because of the new bill’s mention of the officer who died in April after a man deliberately rammed a car into a barricade outside the Capitol.

“I voted against H.R. 3325 that awards Congressional Gold Medals to police officers that protected the Capitol building on January 6th,” Roy’s office said in a statement provided to Rolling Stone. “I previously voted in favor of H.R.1085 in support of those brave men and women. However, this legislation has since been amended to include events that have absolutely nothing to do with January 6th. Instead of honoring our men and women of law enforcement, Democrats are playing political games with the tragedy of April 2, 2021, when Officer William ‘Billy’ Evans was killed and Officer Kenneth Shaver was injured by a man obsessed with the Nation of Islam who slammed his vehicle into the north barricade of the U.S. Capitol complex.

“Because this incident does not fit into the left’s narrative, the Democrats and media have been silent about this attack. I will always back the blue and recognize the bravery of law enforcement — they are true American heroes. I will however, not condone this obvious political maneuver by the Democrats.”

One might think mentioning Evans in the bill on Tuesday constitutes acknowledgment of the attack rather than staying “silent,” as Roy claims. Recognizing this apparently doesn’t fit into his narrative.

Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.)

Steube does not appear to have commented publicly on why he voted against the bill on Tuesday, and Rolling Stone was unable to get in touch with his office.

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