The Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection was one of the most serious challenges to American democracy since the nation’s founding. Americans need to hear the truth about what happened, who was behind it, and how such assaults on democracy can be prevented in the future. Missouri Republican Sens. Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley had a chance to demonstrate their loyalty to the Constitution and to prioritize law and order over blind partisanship. Sadly, Hawley chose partisanship while Blunt opted to slink away. Both chose the way of the coward.
Gladys Sicknick, the mother of Brian Sicknick, the Capitol police officer who died after right-wing rioters attacked him on Jan. 6, requested meetings with every GOP senator to urge creation of a bipartisan investigative commission. Brian Sicknick died a hero, having defended the very people who now stand in the way of the commission’s creation and are trying to sweep the insurrection into the dustbin of history.
Missourians who permit this without challenging their senators to honor the higher calling demonstrated by Brian Sicknick’s sacrifice — and the preservation of American democracy — ultimately will reap the consequences in the form of cowardly representation in Washington.
At least 20 Republican senators did not meet with Sicknick’s mother, including Blunt and Hawley. Blunt’s spokesperson said he had “extended an invitation to meet with Officer Sicknick’s family” — provided it occurred after two Senate committees issued a joint report on the attack.
Hawley’s office said he had offered to meet with Mrs. Sicknick but “did not hear back from her.” It’s not clear whether Hawley offered the same provisos as Blunt. But knowing Hawley, Mrs. Sicknick never stood a chance.
In a letter to GOP senators, she stated, “Not having a January 6 Commission to look into exactly what occurred is a slap in the faces of all the officers who did their jobs that day.” She added: “Because of what they did, the people in the building were able to go home that evening and be with their families.” She urged those who opposed the commission to “visit my son’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery and, while there, think about what their hurtful decisions will do to those officers who will be there for them going forward.”
Hours before the Memorial Day weekend, when Americans honor the sacrifices of those in uniform who died serving the nation, Senate Republicans blocked the commission’s creation. Blunt didn’t even show up for the vote, and his office didn’t respond when asked why. Hawley voted against the commission.