The mother and partner of Brian Sicknick, a Capitol police officer who died after the insurrection, on Thursday made the rounds on Capitol Hill, urging Republican senators to support the Jan. 6 commission.
The House-passed bill that would establish an inquiry faces an uphill battle in the Senate with near-unanimous GOP opposition.
Gladys Sicknick, the late officer’s mother, and Sandra Garza, his longtime partner, met with Republican senators on Thursday, after seeking sit-downs with every single Senate GOP office to stress “the importance” of establishing an independent commission to investigate the deadly insurrection, according to a copy of one of the scheduling request emails obtained by Politico.
In addition to Sicknick’s mother and partner leading the lobbying effort among Republican senators, two other officers who responded to the Capitol attack — D.C. police officer Michael Fanone and Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn — also urged Senate Republicans to support the commission.
Sicknick’s mother, Garza, Dunn and Fanone scheduled meetings with more than a dozen Republican senators Thursday, former Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), who is accompanying the group during their Capitol Hill visit, told the Washington Post.
The group reportedly first stopped by the office of Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who is one of three Republican senators supportive of the commission.
Following the group’s meeting with Romney on Thursday, Garza told reporters that her message to Republican senators who refuse to back the House-passed bill is simple: “Facts are facts,” according to the Post.
“If they look at the footage that happened, it’s very obvious that was not a peaceful day,” Garza said, according to the Post.
Garza also took aim at Republican lawmakers who have downplayed the violence of the Jan. 6 attack that endangered lawmakers’ lives, alluding to Rep. Andrew Clyde’s (R-GA) previous false suggestion that the insurrection was a “normal tourist visit.”
“Police officers were getting attacked, fire extinguishers were being thrown at them, they were being attacked by flagpoles. Officer Dunn here, Officer Fanone — they can basically tell you right now what they experienced, and it wasn’t a tourist day. It wasn’t tourists just passing and walking by.”
After meeting with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Gladys Sicknick told reporters that she remained hopeful that the vote for the commission will pass through the Senate.
“They sit and listen very well, but bottom line is, we don’t know” how the vote will go, Sicknick said, according to CNN.
It appears that the group’s meeting with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who has repeatedly peddled false accounts of the Capitol attack, did not change his mind in opposing the commission.
“Although we respectfully disagreed on the added value of the proposed commission, I did commit to doing everything I could to ensure all their questions will be answered,” Johnson said, according to CNN.
CNN reported that 13 Republican senators declined to meet with Sicknick’s mother. Other Republicans who agreed to meet with her include Sens. Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Braun (R-IN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mike Lee (R-UT), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Steve Daines (R-MT), who will reportedly speak with her by phone.
According to CNN, several other senators offered to have their staffers meet with her, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ben Sasse (R-NE), John Thune (R-SD), Rick Scott (R-FL), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND). It is unclear whether Sicknick will meet with the staffers.
Prior to meeting with Republican senators on Thursday, the group expressed their frustration with GOP opposition to the commission.
“Facts are facts.” Long time companion of fallen @CapitolPolice Officer Brian Sicknick speaks out on Jan. 6 commission. “It wasn’t a tourist day.” Sicknick’s fellow officer Harry Dunn adds: “If January 6 didn’t happen, Brian would still be here. Plain and simple.” #CapitolRiots pic.twitter.com/1QTBwYSjbf
— Eric Flack (@EricFlackTV) May 27, 2021
The group lobbying for the passage of the commission bill comes on the heels of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) — who is a staunch supporter of keeping the filibuster that requires 60 votes for passage in the Senate — taking aim at Republican senators who oppose the bill. GOPers argue that approving it would hurt the party’s chances of winning elections during next year’s midterms.
Only three Republican senators have come out in the support for the commission thus far — Murkowski, Romney and Collins. The GOP is now poised to use their first legislative filibuster to tank the bill that would set up the bipartisan commission, with Democrats lacking the 10 GOP votes needed for the bill to pass.