Ongoing Republican Attacks Causing Crises and a ‘Mounting Sense of Betrayal’ for Capitol Police

July 12, 2021
New York Times: 6 Months After Riot, Capitol Police Face Multiple Crises

From the Speaker's Press Office:

House Republicans ongoing attacks on Capitol Police are having a devastating impact on the officers who protect them on a daily basis.  A gut-wrenching new report from the New York Times highlights the “mounting sense of betrayal” felt by many officers as Republicans “have worked to deny, downplay or justify the [January 6th] attack.”  

As the New York Times’ reporting makes clear, the trauma officers are dealing with after defending Congress and the Capitol is only being worsened by the attacks Republicans continue to launch against the department, including their efforts to defund the Capitol Police by blocking critical funding that would prevent officer furloughs and provide for the desperately needed security upgrades.  For a party that likes to claim they “back the blue,” Republicans in Congress are sending a loud and clear message to Capitol Police officers and law enforcement all across the country – as one Capitol Police officer put it: “these people won’t even have our back.”

Key points from the New York Times:

  • “Half a year after the Capitol riot, the 2,000-member police force charged with protecting Congress finds itself at perhaps its biggest crossroads in its nearly two-century existence. Its work force is traumatized and overworked as its ranks have been hollowed out by a flood of departures. The agency is facing possible furloughs as it teeters on the brink of running out of funding as overtime costs outpace its budget for salaries. It has been besieged by criticism by members of both parties for the stunning security failures that allowed the assault to occur. And on top of it all, its officers have become the target of conspiracy theories by Republican lawmakers who, following Mr. Trump’s lead, have suggested that a Capitol Police officer premeditated the killing of Ashli Babbitt, a rioter who was shot steps away from the door to the House chamber.”
  • [O]ther proposed upgrades cannot be funded without additional support from Congress, which is locked in a stalemate over the money amid Republican opposition to a $1.9 billion emergency security bill, including concerns about militarizing the Capitol with a quick reaction force of National Guard troops.”
  • “The funding impasse compounds a mounting sense of betrayal that many Capitol Police officers say they have experienced as some Republicans loyal to Mr. Trump, whose lies of a stolen election egged on the mob on Jan. 6, have worked to deny, downplay or justify the attack. Last month, 21 House Republicans voted against awarding Congressional Gold Medals to Capitol Police officers who responded to the riot. Senate Republicans blocked the formation of an independent bipartisan commission to investigate what happened, even after officers on duty that day and the family of Officer Sicknick personally pleaded with them to allow it to go forward.”
  • “In recent weeks, some Republicans have spread conspiracy theories, such as the baseless claim that the F.B.I. was secretly behind the Capitol siege. And some have latched onto the shooting of Ms. Babbitt, who was part of a mob that broke through a glass door only steps away from lawmakers when she was fatally shot, to suggest that the Capitol Police were targeting Mr. Trump’s supporters.”
  • “To officers who responded to the mob on Jan. 6, the reaction by Republicans loyal to Mr. Trump only adds to an already untenable situation they are facing inside a broken department. […] ‘We go to work every day to protect Congress, and these people won’t even have our back,’ Officer Blassingame said. ‘The officers did our job — no member of Congress was injured on that day. For them to not have our back, it’s extremely disheartening.’”

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