During remarks at the White House, the president said the officers helped prevent an ‘existential threat’ to US democracy
President Biden just signed a bill honouring the Washington DC police who fought off 6 January’s pro-Trump attack on the Capitol, telling a crowd at the White House that “we can’t allow history to be re-written.”
“It wasn’t dissent. It wasn’t debate. It wasn’t debate. It was insurrection,” the president said on Thursday of the riot. “It was fundamentally un-American, an existential threat, a test of whether our democracy could survive.”
The bill, HR 3325, which passed the Senate unanimously but was opposed by 21 Republicans in the House, awards four congressional gold medals to members of the US Capitol Police and DC Metropolitan Police Department who kept the crowd of angry MAGA loyalists from reaching senior members of the government taking shelter inside the Capitol.
“Our democracy did survive,” Mr Biden added. “Truth defeated lies. We did overcome. That’s because of the women and men of the US capitol police, Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department, and other law enforcement officials we honour today.”
The law marks the highest honour yet for the officers stationed at the Capitol that day, after various Congress members have recognised them, and officer Eugene Goodman, hailed as one of the heroes of the riot, escorted vice-president Kamala Harris at the inauguration. Five people, including Capitol officer Brian Sicknick, were killed at the riots, and four officers present that day have died by suicide since. More than one hundred other police were injured during the attack, which attempted to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election results in Congress.
Though Congress has reached an increasingly rare bipartisan consensus that the officers who served deserve commendation, the broader legacy of 6 January remains contested.