Washington, Aug 5 (EFE).- United States president Joe Biden paid tribute on Thursday to the police officers who responded to the assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6, signing a bill to award them Congressional Gold Medals.
The medals are the highest civilian honor awarded by Congress and go to first responders of the Capitol Police, the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department and others who attended the riot.
“America owes you a debt we can never fully repay,” Biden told the 20 officers present at the White House signing.
The president spoke out against those who seek to misrepresent what happened that day, in a veiled allusion to former president Donald Trump and his allies, who have portrayed the riot mob as heroes, despite the fact that the event ended with five deaths and 140 officers injured.
“The tragedy of that day deserves the truth above all else. We cannot allow history to be rewritten. We cannot allow the heroism of these officers to be forgotten,” Biden said, alongside Vice President Kamala Harris.
“It wasn’t dissent. It wasn’t debate. It wasn’t democracy. It was insurrection. It was riot and mayhem. It was radical and chaotic. And it was unconstitutional.”
The president described the radical far-right Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol as “a mob of extremists and terrorists” but celebrated that “democracy did survive” and “truth defeated lies.”
The crowd that stormed Congress tried to prevent Biden’s November election victory from being ratified, as a result of Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud.
Present at the event were the four police officers who testified last week during the first hearing of the select committee led by House of Representatives speaker, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, to investigate the assault.
Aquilino Gonell, Michael Fanone, Harry Dunn and Daniel Hodges described the physical and psychological consequences that the assault has had on them and many of their colleagues.
This week, authorities confirmed that two more police officers who responded to the Capitol riot committed suicide last month, bringing the number of officers involved in the Jan. 6 operation who have taken their own lives to four. EFE