Republicans who backed coup now demand 'justice' for police officer killed in riot

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GOP lawmakers who supported Trump's attempt to overturn the election are dodging accountability for their own roles in spurring Wednesday's attack on the Capitol.

Several Republican lawmakers whose actions helped spur Wednesday's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol are now demanding "justice" following news that a police officer died from injuries sustained during the riots.

U.S. Capitol Police officials confirmed on Thursday night that Officer Brian D. Sicknick, a 42-year-old military veteran, died after being injured "while physically engaging" with the violent pro-Donald Trump mob that stormed the building. According to a statement, Sicknick had "returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries."

Lawmakers of both parties released statements mourning Sicknick's death. His own congressman, Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) noted that the officer "made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting those trapped in the Capitol amid a violent assault on our democracy itself. Like others before him who died in defense of the people’s representatives, he deserves to lie in state."

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But several of the very lawmakers who endorsed the same attempt to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's election as the mobs demanded — and helped incite the violent rebellion with false claims that the election had been stolen — were among those calling for legal action against the person or people responsible for Sicknick's death.

They included:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Cruz was one of the leaders of the ill-fated congressional attempt to reject Biden electors on Wednesday and even sent out a fundraising request during the attacks, though he later claimed it was sent by a third-party vendor.

"Devastating. Heidi and I are lifting up in prayer the family of the U.S. Capitol Police officer who tragically lost his life keeping us safe. He was a true hero," he tweeted Thursday night. "Yesterday's terrorist attack was a horrific assault on our democracy. Every terrorist needs to be fully prosecuted."

Asked separately by a local news outlet on Thursday if he believed he bore any of the blame for Wednesday's attacks, Cruz answered: "Not remotely."

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)

Tuberville also objected to certifying the results, claiming earlier this week: "Under President Trump’s leadership, we've seen unprecedented efforts to protect our southern border, cut taxes for Americans, and confirm a record number of conservative judges to the Federal bench. It is critical to ensure the voices of the millions of Americans who voted for President Trump are heard and not diminished by voter fraud or election irregularities."

On Friday, his tune had changed. "My prayers are with this Officer's family," he tweeted. "Wednesday's violence was unacceptable and reprehensible. Those who engaged in unlawful activity must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL)

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of @CapitolPolice Officer Brian Sicknick, who bravely protected us during Wednesday’s attack at the Capitol," Scott, who also backed the attempt to reject pro-Biden electors, tweeted Friday. "The lawless thugs who perpetrated this disgusting attack must be held accountable to the highest degree of the law."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

McCarthy (R-CA) reportedly admitted weeks ago that Trump had lost fair and square, but still joined most of his caucus in voting to ignore that fact and reject Biden's electors.

"As the violent mob descended on the Capitol, Officer Brian Sicknick was valiantly protecting more than the building and the people inside—he was protecting Americans’ way of life," he wrote in a statement on Friday. "Congress will provide the full resources to bring perpetrators of Wednesday’s attack to justice."

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ)

Since Trump lost both nationally and in Biggs's home state of Arizona in November, the congressman has repeatedly pushed the false election fraud claims that convinced thousands of Trump supporters that the election was stolen.

"Cindy and I are devastated over the death of this heroic U.S. Capitol Police officer, who was murdered in the midst of the violence that occurred at the Capitol earlier this week. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and colleagues. There must be justice for his death," he tweeted Friday.

A spokesperson from Biggs's office told the American Independent Foundation on Friday that the congressman "was fighting for the integrity of American elections and to ensure that his constituents could have complete trust in our nation’s elections systems. At no point, did he encourage or foster any attempts to circumvent or break any of our laws. The murder of this officer was beyond tragic, and the person who committed the deed is solely responsible for this heinous crime."

Rep. John Carter (R-TX)

Carter, who also voted to reject the election results, tweeted Friday that "Every single individual that stormed our nation's beacon of democracy will be found and they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC)

Norman, who backed the effort to overturn the 2020 election, wrote Friday: "Heavy hearts this morning with the news of Brian Sicknick, an officer with the U.S. Capitol Police, who succumbed last night to injuries sustained during the horrific riots on Wednesday. His killer deserves nothing less than the full weight of American Justice."

Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO)

Smith, who also backed the effort to reject Biden's victory, tweeted Friday morning that he was "devastated at the continued loss of life."

"We cannot rest until these murderous thugs are brought to justice. Officer Sicknick and his family are in my prayers.

Aside from Biggs, spokespeople for the lawmakers did not immediately respond to requests for comment for this story. To date, none of them have public accepted any responsibility for helping to foment the riots with their rhetoric and actions.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.