Mike Johnson, Holding Vigil For Police, Hasn’t Bothered With Plaque Honoring Jan. 6 Officers

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) will host a vigil Tuesday for police who have died in the line of duty, but a simple plaque honoring officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, is apparently too much.

Two years ago, Congress passed a law requiring lawmakers to compile a list of names of the police officers who fought Donald Trump’s mob in order to put them on a plaque to be displayed on the west front of the Capitol building, with a deadline of March 2023. More than a year after the deadline, there’s no plaque.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who served on the House committee that investigated the Capitol attack, complained about the missing memorial in a letter to Johnson last week.

“It is deeply troubling that this memorial has not been installed, particularly considering the significance of honoring those who faced violence and assault while safeguarding our Capitol,” Lofgren wrote.

A spokesperson for Johnson told NBC News this week that his office is working with the Architect of the Capitol, which oversees the grounds, “to get the plaque mounted,” without providing details. A Johnson spokesperson didn’t respond to HuffPost’s request for more information.

Tuesday evening’s vigil will feature remarks by Johnson as well as from family members of fallen police officers, according to a press release, as part of official Washington’s annual commemoration of National Police Week. Thousands of police officers typically travel to Washington to mark the occasion.

The plaque may be a small thing, an obscure provision buried in a thousand-page government funding bill. But it’s also a symbol of the Republican Party’s epic quest to downplay, excuse or ignore Trump’s efforts to steal the 2020 election, including the violent mob attack on Congress by his supporters and the resulting injuries to dozens of officers.

“I would venture to say it was probably the most significant event involving law enforcement in this country in the past, I don’t know, 150 years, and it’s like it never fucking happened,” Michael Fanone, a former D.C. police officer injured in the melee, told HuffPost.

Fanone has been outspoken about his experience being assaulted by rioters on the west side of the Capitol. Even though the whole event was on video, including on Fanone’s body-worn camera, Fanone said he often encounters people who don’t believe it happened. He blames Republicans for instilling those false beliefs.

“The influence on everyday Americans is significant,” he said. “Every single day, I encounter somebody who fucking calls me a liar.”

More than 1,400 rioters have been charged with crimes for their actions on Jan. 6, including 133 accused of using a dangerous weapon or causing serious bodily injury to an officer. The mob stormed the building while lawmakers certified Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election.

Trump has said he would consider pardoning all of the rioters who’ve been charged with crimes if elected president again, and his presidential bid is partly a way for him to escape his own criminal liability for his efforts to overturn his 2020 loss. Trump has been charged with conspiring to defraud the United States, obstructing the congressional proceeding on Jan. 6 and scheming to deprive Americans of the right to have their votes counted.

For Johnson, whitewashing Jan. 6 has been a hallmark of his speakership. One of his first actions was to announce the release of thousands of hours of Capitol surveillance footage so that the public could “see for themselves what happened that day, rather than having to rely upon the interpretation of a small group of government officials” — as though the common understanding that a pro-Trump mob overran the Capitol was some sort of propaganda.

Last week, Johnson held a press conference in front of the House steps, where he falsely claimed that noncitizen voters represented a massive threat to U.S. elections — essentially the same voter fraud lie that propelled Trump’s mob up those very same steps.

Johnson’s vigil for fallen police officers was originally scheduled to happen on the steps, where video footage released earlier this year under Johnson’s orders shows pro-Trump rioters attacking police. The ceremony has since been moved inside due to rain.