McConnell, McCarthy snubbed for handshakes at Jan. 6 police ceremony

Family members of former Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died a day after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, declined to shake hands with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as they helped present Congressional Gold Medals on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Ken Sicknick, brother of Brian Sicknick, told CBS News after the ceremony that the Republican leaders “have no idea what integrity is” and said they did not deserve a handshake.

  • The medals were to honor officers with the US Capitol Police, DC Metropolitan Police and other departments who defended the US Capitol during the riot.

What they’re saying: “They came out right away and condemned what happened on January 6, and — whatever hold that Trump has on them — they’ve backstepped, they’ve danced. They won’t admit to wrongdoing — not necessarily them themselves, but of Trump , of the rioters,” Ken Sicknick told CBS.

  • He praised outgoing Republican Rep. Liz Cheney (Wy.), saying: “Unlike Liz Cheney, they have no idea what integrity is. They can’t stand up for what’s right. With them, it’s party first.”
  • When asked if McConnell and McCarthy deserved handshakes during the ceremony, Ken and Charles Sicknick, Brian Sicknick’s father, said “No” and shook their heads.

The big picture: Police officers who responded to the Jan. 6 attack and some of their family members also declined to shake McConnell’s and McCarthy’s hands.

  • Sicknick had been assaulted with chemical spray during the riot and died of natural causes after suffering two strokes a day later.
  • Earlier this year, a man from New Jersey pleaded guilty to assaulting police officers with pepper spray, including Officer Sicknick. Another man from West Virginia involved in the pepper spray attack pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors.
  • Hundreds of other officers from several departments were also injured during the riot.
  • At least four police officers who defended the Capitol during the attack have died by suicide.

Go deeper: Officers honored for response during Jan. 6 attack

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