Republicans and Democrats honour hero of DC riot police officer with medal
The medal vote was a rare show of agreement in a body that is now partway through the impeachment trial of Donald Trump
US senators broke into a standing ovation and cheering as they voted to award a medal to hero police officer Eugene Goodman.
US Capitol police officer Goodman helped keep a crowd of attackers out of the Senate chamber during the riots in Washington, potentially saved the lives of lawmakers with his actions.
The vote to awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal, the body’s highest civilian honour, took place on Friday.
The medal decision was a rare show of agreement in a body that is now partway through the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, who is accused of inciting insurrection and the January 6 riot.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer led the moves to honour Mr Goodman.
“After the attack on January 6, the world learnt about the incredible, incredible bravery of Officer Goodman on that fateful day,” he said.
“Here in this trial, we saw a new video, powerful video showing calmness under pressure, his courage in the line of duty, his foresight in the midst of chaos, and his willingness to make himself a target of the mobs rage so that others might reach safety.”
“The nation saw and has now seen numerous examples of the heroic conduct of the Capitol Police, the Metropolitan Police, the SWAT teams that were with us on January 6 here in the Capitol protecting us,” Mr Schumer added.
“Our heartfelt gratitude extends to each and every one of them, particularly now as members of the force continue to bear scars seen and unforeseen from the events of that disgraceful day. Let us give them all the honour and recognition they so justly deserve.”
After the election, some Republicans, including Senator Ted Cruz, tried to challenge the election results. Most Republican senators are expected to vote against convicting Mr Trump.
The outgoing President Trump spoke at the January 6 rally in Washington, DC, which turned into an attack on the US Capitol.
Other senators, like former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has said Republicans must accept defeat and learn lessons from the Trump presidency.
In the Senate on Friday Republicans, led by minority leader Senator Mitch McConnell, also celebrated the officer.
“January 6 was a day of fear for those who work here in the Capitol and of sadness for many more watching from afar,” Mr McConnell said.
“In the face of lawlessness, the officers of the US Capitol lived out the fullest sense of their oath.
“If not for the quick thinking and bravery of Officer Eugene Goodman. In particular, people in this chamber may not have escaped that day unharmed.”
The first recipient was George Washington. Over the years, the medal has been presented to military leaders, authors, athletes and civil rights icons.
Updated: February 13, 2021 06:56 AM