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Some Republicans booed or walked out when the Pennsylvania House recognized officers defending the Capitol on Jan. 6

By means of Gillian McGoldrick, the Philadelphia researcher

Updated: 23 seconds ago Published: 3 minutes ago

HARRISBURG Pa. — As the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Wednesday recognized two police officers defending the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot, several House Republicans booed or walked off the floor in protest and at least one state official shouted “traitor” . ‘ among the men.

Lawmakers routinely bring special guests to be recognized, such as a local sports team that has won a state championship, a school club or a civic association. House Speaker Joanna McClinton (D., Philadelphia) typically reads the list of visitors, and House members applaud.

That was not the case when the two U.S. Capitol Police officers visited Wednesday.

The officers – Harry Dunn and Aquilino Gonell – stopped in Harrisburg while traveling through the state in support of President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign. Both officers testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Jan. 6 about how they were treated during the riot.

When McClinton introduced Dunn and Gonell as those who “bravely defended democracy” against rioters, a handful of Republican members left the floor while others remained in the room but voiced their objections, Democratic members said.

Video footage of the proceedings did not make it clear who walked out or was booed because the video does not show the entire House chamber.

Several Democrats said they saw far-right state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz (R., Clinton) yelling “traitor” at the men. Borowicz could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

“There are people who, for whatever reason, instead of standing up and honoring the heroic action of these former officers, decided to walk away,” said Rep. Jordan Harris (D., Philadelphia ). “The fact is that they turned their backs yesterday.”

The Biden campaign released a statement from the agents.

“The fact that they are afraid to listen to those of us who were there and witnessed firsthand the political violence of January 6 speaks volumes,” Dunn said.

House Republican Minority Leader Bryan Cutler (R., Lancaster), who stands with other Republicans to applaud the officers in the video recording of the session, said in a statement that bringing the two officers to the House after a campaign event was inappropriate. He noted that the House Democratic Campaign Committee had subsequently tried to raise money for the incident.

“The goodwill of the PA House Democrats is suspect in this situation, as they immediately used their politicized actions in the House chamber to raise money for their campaign coffers,” Cutler added. “Unfortunately, through the processes in the House of Representatives, they have demonstrated a pattern of antagonizing members and inviting division and disagreement for their political and campaign purposes.”

Democrats took control of the State House for the first time in twelve years in 2023 and have a one-seat majority. They hope to retain control in November’s general election, with all 203 seats on the ballot paper. The Republicans hope to regain the majority.

Rep. Mike Schlossberg (D., Lehigh) claimed that Republicans in the House of Representatives, when they controlled the House, would recognize their own political figures, and that Democrats did not have the same reaction.

“I find it very interesting that Republicans are saying that we are politicizing the January 6 issue,” Schlossberg added. “If they see an attack on democracy as an attack on the Republican Party, their policies may not be consistent with democracy.”

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