The Hill: Virginia Democrat: Capitol Police officers ‘saved democracy’

THE HILL, CELINE CASTRONUOVO

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) on Thursday condemned the Republican lawmakers who the day before voted against a bill to award Congressional Gold Medals to law enforcement who responded to the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, arguing the officers “saved democracy that day.”

Spanberger, who previously worked as a CIA operations officer, warned of further misinformation surrounding the 2020 election and the Capitol mob attack, specifically pointing to the 12 Republicans who voted against a measure honoring Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department officers because the bill referred to the attack as an “insurrection.” 

“Unfortunately, three police officers have lost their lives and so many more have faced lifelong consequences because of their fight to save our democracy,” she said in an interview on CNN’s “New Day.”  

Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died after being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher during the mob attack, and two additional officers who responded to the rioting have since died by suicide. 

“The fact that we have colleagues who are unwilling to call an attack on the United States Capitol by fellow Americans an insurrection, an attack on the United States Capitol as we were there to do our constitutional duty of recognizing the results of the 2020 election — They were there to disrupt that effort, they were there to stop it, they were there to essentially assert their will over the will of the American people,” she explained. 

“I mean, that is what an insurrection is,” she added. 

Spanberger said the U.S. faces additional threats of violence from domestic terrorists, referencing a report released Wednesday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. 

“Narratives of fraud in the recent general election, the emboldening impact of the violent breach of the US Capitol, conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and conspiracy theories promoting violence—will almost certainly spur some [domestic violent extremists] to try to engage in violence this year,” the report said.

Spanberger on Thursday said, “The most important thing is that lawmakers and anyone with an elevated voice tell the truth, and the truth is there was not widespread fraud. The truth is Joe Biden won the election. And many people may be disappointed by that fact, but it is the truth.”

“The incredible work of the Capitol Hill police officers is what saved democracy,” she added. “The fact that I have colleagues that continue to be unwilling to tell the truth to their constituents, it’s dangerous to our democracy and it’s a grave disappointment.”

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