House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced she would sponsor legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Capitol Police officers who defended the United States Capitol during a violent insurrection led by former President Donald Trump’s supporters.
“It has been such a sad time for us, but as we see what is being presented, we also see the extraordinary valor of the Capitol police, who risked and gave their lives to save our Capitol, our democracy, our lives. They are martyrs for our democracy, those who lost their lives,” Pelosi said at a news conference. “We must always remember their sacrifice … We will never forget.”
Pelosi’s announcement comes as Trump faces an impeachment trial for inciting the insurrection against Congress. Five people, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, died during the attack, which took place after Trump encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol in a bid to overturn the results of an election that President Joe Biden won decisively.
Officer Eugene Goodman, who became a viral sensation after footage of him diverting the insurgents away from where lawmakers were gathered, has been present at the trial, where he and legislators have had the opportunity to watch more footage of the attack. Pelosi said she would also like to recognize Goodman for his “valor.”
David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. head the legal team for Trump’s defense. They will have the opportunity to defend him for 16 hours spread out over two days.
In a brief submitted to the Senate earlier this week, Trump’s legal team argues that he did not “direct anyone to commit unlawful actions,” adding that he should not take the blame for the actions of a “small group of criminals.” They say the former president’s falsehoods about the election are protected under the First Amendment.
“This impeachment proceeding was never about seeking justice,” they wrote. “Instead, this was only ever a selfish attempt by Democratic leadership in the House to prey upon the feelings of horror and confusion that fell upon all Americans across the entire political spectrum upon seeing the destruction at the Capitol on Jan. 6 by a few hundred people.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.