Following the impeachment proceedings against former President Donald J. Trump, the United States Senate came together for a rare moment of unity – to honor one of the heroes of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The Senate, by unanimous consent, voted Friday night to give the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor Congress can bestow, to Eugene Goodman, the Capitol Police officer who was seen leading a violent mob away from the Senate doors as they hunted for lawmakers certifying the results of the presidential election.
“In the weeks after the attack on January the 6th, the world learned about the incredible, incredible bravery of officer Goodman on that fateful day,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said. “Here in this trial, we saw new video, powerful video showing calmness under pressure – his courage in the line of duty, his foresight in the midst of chaos, and his willingness to make himself a target of the mob’s rage so that others might reach safety.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that “it not for the quick thinking and bravery of Officer Eugene Goodman in particular, people in this chamber may not have escaped that day unharmed.”
Goodman, the acting Senate sergeant-at-arms, was in the chamber during the vote.
“Officer Goodman is in the chamber tonight. Officer Goodman, thank you,” Schumer said, gesturing to Goodman – after which the Senate rose, turned to him, and gave him a loud ovation. Goodman responded by putting his hand on his heart.
Goodman was present in the chamber for most of the impeachment trial, in which House impeachment managers accused the former president of “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the Jan. 6 riot.
New evidence presented in the trial Wednesday included Capitol security videos that showed Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) narrowly escaping the mob, thanks to a warning given to him by Officer Goodman.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced legislation Thursday to honor the service of law enforcement officers who responded to the violent insurrection by giving them the Congressional Medal of Honor for those who became “martyrs for our democracy.”
“The service of the Capitol Police force that day brings honor to our democracy, and their accepting this reward brings luster to this medal,” Pelosi said Thursday, adding in part, “we must all remember their sacrifice.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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