US Capitol Police gets in an awkward spot after anonymous letter says members are outraged at GOP leaders
A new letter to Congress revealed on Wednesday said an anonymous group of U.S. Capitol Police officers are denouncing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy because of their opposition to a bipartisan commission to study the Jan. 6 insurrection.
That legislation was expected to pass the House on a bipartisan basis on Wednesday, though the majority of Republicans opposed it.
The letter quickly went viral on Twitter, though some misleadingly suggested that it came directly from the U.S. Capitol Police. Rather, as NPR reporter Sarah Ferris reported, the letter came from the office of Maryland Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin, who said he had been speaking with a group of anonymous Capitol Police officers. They wrote the letter anonymously because they "are expected to remain neutral and do our jobs with honor and integrity," it said.
The letter expressed the pain the members feel as an enduring legacy of the attack:
We members of the United States Capitol Police write this letter to express our profound disappointment with the recent comments from both chambers' minority leaders expressing no need for a January 6 commission. The brave men and women of the USCP were subjected to hours and hours of physical trauma which has led to months of mental anguish. If you look around the Capitol building, you still have doors that are broken, windows still smashed and in some cases missing. Officers are forced to go to work with the daily reminder of what happened that dreadful day.
It also criticized the members of Congress who have downplayed the events and suggested they weren't serious:
It is inconceivable that some of the Members we protect, would downplay the events of January 6". Member safety was dependent upon the heroic actions of USCP. It is a privileged assumption for Members to have the point of view that “It wasn't that bad". That privilege exists because the brave men and women of the USCP protected you, the Members.
Due in part to the confusion over the letter's attribution, the U.S. Capitol Police officially distanced itself from the comments,, saying it couldn't even verify that they were genuinely from members of the organization:
USCP does NOT take positions on legislation. https://t.co/LSu38jbIqd— U.S. Capitol Police (@U.S. Capitol Police) 1621459391.0
It's understandable that the USCP would not want to place itself at odds with GOP leadership in Congress. But in its zeal to denounce the anonymous letter, it put the organization in an awkward spot. As many critics pointed out, despite the claim to the contrary, the USCP doesn't exactly shy away from endorsing legislation that it sees in its interest.
Just last week, USCP posted this message as an official statement, linking to legislation that would increase the organization's funding in response to the Jan. 6 attack: "The Department is grateful for the support and the focus on providing enhanced capabilities and resources for our workforce. This support will directly help the Department move forward to meet our evolving mission."
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