The Republicans’ leader in the Senate has been snubbed by the family of a police officer who died following the US Capitol riots on 6 January 2021.
It happened during a ceremony held for officers who defended the Washington DC landmark against Donald Trump supporters.
The officers have been honoured with Congressional gold medals for “courageously answering the call to defend our democracy in one of the nation’s darkest hours”, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell commented: “Thank you for having our backs. Thank you for saving our country. Thank you for not only being our friends, but our heroes.”
But when the family of Brian Sicknick, who died after suffering two strokes on 7 January, passed Mr McConnell in a line-up, they refused to shake his outstretched hand.
In contrast, the Democrats’ leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, received a kiss from Gladys Sicknick, the late officer’s mother.
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Recognising the hundreds of officers who were at the Capitol on 6 January, the medals will be placed in four locations: US Capitol Police headquarters, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Capitol and the Smithsonian Institution.
President Joe Biden said one was being placed at the Smithsonian museum “so all visitors can understand what happened that day”.
“Many of us still carry the mental, physical and emotional scars,” Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said.
He told the officers: “It was your blood, your sweat and your tears that marked these grounds.”
US Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger called it a “day unlike any other in our nation’s history – and for us”.
He added: “It was a day defined by chaos, courage and tragic loss.”