On Tuesday afternoon, 21 Republican lawmakers went to the House floor and cast a vote against legislation to bestow Congress’ highest honor on the Capitol Police for their service on Jan. 6.
It was a curious vote, even for these Republicans who are among the most loyal pro-Trump—and pro-law enforcement—voices in Congress. But it was made even more curious for 12 of them because of what hangs outside their office doors: signs of support for the Capitol Police.
Hundreds of members of Congress have put up signs with the message “Thank You U.S. Capitol Police #heroes” in the months since the Jan. 6 attack, conveying their gratitude toward the men and women who protected them and their staff that day. Nearly all of those members voted to award the Capitol Police the Congressional Gold Medal—just as all Democrats and 188 Republicans did.
But 21 Republicans thought otherwise. And among that group, 12 of them displayed pro-police signs outside their offices, according to a Daily Beast review: Reps. Michael Cloud (R-TX), Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Chip Roy (R-TX), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Matt Rosendale (R-MT), Bob Good (R-VA), Barry Moore (R-AL), Mary Miller (R-IL), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Warren Davidson (R-OH), and Scott Perry (R-PA).
It’s unusual to see any Republican shirk from an opportunity to make a public stand behind law enforcement. The legislation, after all, is far from controversial. It’s meant to “honor the sacrifice of heroes” which “exemplify the patriotism and the commitment of Capitol Police officers, and those of other law enforcement agencies, to risk their lives in service of our country.”
When contacted by The Daily Beast, most of these lawmakers didn’t respond to requests for comment. The few who did offered varying explanations for their votes and their pro-police displays. But most cited objections with language in the bill’s text, even though two sources with knowledge of the agreement indicated that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D0CA) cleared the inclusion of that language with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and there were no objections. Republicans, after all, have been pushing for that incident to be included in any investigation of the Jan. 6 attack
Of particular concern to these Republicans were explicit references to the Capitol attack as an “insurrection”—a quibble that reflects just how far many Republicans, particularly those in this group, have gone to establish a revisionist history of Jan. 6 that downplays the day’s violence and deflects blame from Donald Trump and his supporters.
Clyde, for example, said in a recent hearing that Jan. 6 was no different than a “normal tourist visit” at the Capitol. He refused to shake hands Wednesday with USCP officer Joey Fanone, who was beaten and seriously injured in the attack.
A spokesperson for Greene—who told reporters on Tuesday that she would not call Jan. 6 an insurrection—explained that she was supporting a separate bill from Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) to award the Congressional Gold Medal to police officers. That bill’s text does not mention the Capitol attack and gestures more broadly at officers’ sacrifices.
Greene’s spokesperson also noted that she introduced a bill to bestow the honor on police officers “who protected American cities during the violent BLM riots during the summer of 2020,” a deflection that has become the MAGA crowd’s preferred example of whataboutism.
Several of the Republicans also explained that they voted against the bill because it contained a reference to an attack in April, when a man rammed his car into a police checkpoint outside the Capitol and killed Officer William Evans. The perpetrator was later determined to be a follower of the Nation of Islam and believed that the government was targeting him.
The language concerning Evans was added into the legislation after the legislation first received a vote in March, and its inclusion was apparently enough to push several lawmakers—including Rosendale and Davidson—to rescind their support for the bill.
A spokesperson for Rosendale accused Pelosi of “continuing to play politics with the events of that day and months later brought a bill to the floor with an unrelated act of violence at the Capitol perpetrated by an Islamic extremist—attempting to pin that act on protesters months prior."
“House Democrats are using an opportunity to recognize the valor of our Capitol Police officers to launder a politically motivated narrative about the events of 1/6,” claimed Davidson in a tweet. “This narrative includes a separate, unrelated attack in the casualty report.”
Nodding to the fact that over 180 of his Republican colleagues backed the revised bill anyway, Davidson admitted, “It’s tough to explain; so many go along with this bad bill with hopes that the Senate will fix it.”
Others preferred to simply not explain it. Asked by The Daily Beast whether the sign outside his office contradicted the message Moore sent with his vote, a spokesperson for the Alabama Republican passed along a succinct response: “No.”