The mother of New Jersey native Brian Sicknick, a Capitol police officer who died as a result of the Jan. 6 attack, snubbed Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell during a ceremony presenting her son with the Congressional Medal of Honor for their heroism in the very building he defended.

Brian Sicknick, who also served in the New Jersey Air National Guard, was among five people who died after the riot after being assaulted. The District of Columbia's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined he died of natural causes in the line of duty after suffering two strokes the day after the attack. Two men have been charged with assaulting Sicknick in the melee.

“Capitol Police Officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood, Metropolitan Police Department Officer Jeffrey Smith, and those who sustained injuries, and the courage of Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, exemplify the patriotism and the commitment of Capitol Police officers, and those of other law enforcement agencies, to risk their lives in service of our country,” reads the text of the bill awarding the medals.

To recognize the hundreds of officers who were at the Capitol on Jan. 6, the medals will be placed in four locations — at U.S. Capitol Police headquarters, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Capitol and the Smithsonian Institution. In signing the legislation last year, Biden said that one will be placed at the Smithsonian Museum “so all visitors can understand what happened that day.”

Gladys Sicknick, left, mother of slain U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, hugs Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy
Gladys Sicknick, left, mother of slain U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, hugs Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Snub of Republicans

During the ceremony, Sicknick's family declined to shake hands with Republican leaders including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

Brian Sicknick's mother Gladys told CNN that she was tired of Republicans being two-faced in praising Capitol police and also visiting former President Donald Trump at his Florida home.

"It just hurts," Gladys Sicknick said.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J. 12th District, was among those at the ceremony. She said the memory of Jan. 6 still weighs on the minds, bodies and souls of many. Her 12th Congressional District includes South River where Sicknick grew up.

"In no uncertain terms, the valiant officers who protected the Capitol that day are heroes. I thank each and every officer who risked everything in service of our nation. My heart goes out to the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, including New Jersey native Brian Sicknick. After sustaining injuries in the line of duty, Officer Sicknick sadly passed away the day after the assault on the Capitol," Watson Coleman said in a statement.

Only 173 Congressional Gold Medals have been presented in the country's 250-year history.

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Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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