Republicans Reject Jan.6 Rioters as They Walk Out of the room after Cop Defenders are Introduced


During a session in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Republican lawmakers rejected Trump supporters including former Capitol Police officers Aquilino Gonell and Harry Dunn, who defended the Capitol against Jan. 6 rioters. As they were presented by House Speaker Joanna McClinton (D), some Republicans walked out and booed, marking the incident with hissing and jeering.

The incident unfolded on Wednesday when House Speaker Joanna McClinton (D) presented the officers to the state House floor in Harrisburg. As reported by the Washington Post on Thursday, June 6, 2024, the reaction from Republican lawmakers included booing, hissing, and walking out, as reported by the Washington Post.

State Representative Arvind Venkat (D) described the scene on Thursday, noting, “I heard some hissing, and I saw about eight to ten of my Republican colleagues walk out angrily as they were announced as police officers from the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.” Although the livestream video captured the initial cheers and whistles, the jeering was subdued and barely audible.

Venkat expressed his dismay, stating, “I was shocked and appalled.” The disruption lasted approximately five minutes, with fewer than 100 officials present out of the 203 members of the chamber at the time. The session’s agenda included honoring Gonell and Dunn for their efforts to “defend the Capitol against rioters and insurrectionists on Jan. 6, 2021.”

The officers are touring the country to raise awareness about the threats to democracy. Speaker McClinton condemned the Republicans’ actions, calling them “despicable.” In defense, House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler contended that their actions were not indicative of their respect for law enforcement.

“I was on the House Floor yesterday and I personally spoke to both of the former officers at the Speaker’s rostrum. I and other members of our caucus also had their pictures taken with the former officers,” Cutler stated. He accused Democratic lawmakers of “antagonizing members and inviting division and discord for their political and campaign purposes.”

GOP caucus chair George Dunbar echoed this sentiment, denying the reported behavior. “I did not see who did what on the Floor yesterday, but I believe the actions by House Democrats were contrived for political purposes,” he said. Dunbar affirmed his respect for Capitol police officers and all law enforcement.

Despite some Republicans showing respect, Democrats remained critical of the overall Republican response. Representative Mike Schlossberg (D) acknowledged that while some Republican members applauded and stood, the majority did not. “It was embarrassing and disgraceful,” he remarked.

Schlossberg described the intensity of the booing and jeering, noting that it forced Speaker McClinton to raise her voice to be heard. This reaction further highlighted the deep divisions within the Pennsylvania House over the recognition of the officers who defended the Capitol during the January 6 insurrection.

The episode underscores the polarized nature of contemporary politics, even around issues of law enforcement and the events of January 6. While some Republicans claim their actions were misinterpreted and driven by political motivations from Democrats, the incident has sparked significant controversy and criticism from Democratic lawmakers and beyond.

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