Biden Will Mark Jan. 6 With Presidential Medals for Election Officials
WASHINGTON — President Biden on Friday will mark the second anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by awarding the Presidential Citizens Medal to a dozen people who resisted efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Mr. Biden will present the award, which is among the nation’s highest civilian honors, at a ceremony at the White House, officials said. The award is given to people who have “performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.”
The group to be honored is a who’s who of figures that defended the 2020 election results in the face of threats from Donald J. Trump and his most fervent supporters.
It includes leading Republicans, like Rusty Bowers, the former Arizona House speaker, and Al Schmidt, a city commissioner in Pennsylvania, who helped confirm Mr. Trump’s defeat in their states by insisting all absentee ballots be counted. Jocelyn Benson, the Democratic secretary of state in Michigan, oversaw an extended process to tabulate votes in Detroit.
Mr. Biden will also honor Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss, who processed ballots during the 2020 election for the Fulton County, Ga., elections board. They were falsely accused of manipulating ballots by Mr. Trump, his lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and the conspiracy website The Gateway Pundit.
The two women later sued The Gateway Pundit and Mr. Giuliani, and Ms. Freeman, like several of the other honorees, testified before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.
The president will also honor seven police officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6, including Brian Sicknick, who died of a stroke a day later.
The ceremony comes two years after the attacks by Trump supporters, who violently forced their way into the Capitol with the intent to stop lawmakers from formally certifying Mr. Biden’s victory over Mr. Trump.
Since then, Mr. Biden has repeatedly warned that the day’s events — and the broader effort by Mr. Trump and his allies to undermine confidence in the election — represent a significant threat to American democracy.
“For the first time in our history, a president had not just lost an election, he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol,” Mr. Biden said during a speech on the first anniversary of the attacks.
In those remarks, Mr. Biden vowed to work against the forces who enabled the attack on that dark day in American history.
“I will stand in this breach,” he said, speaking from the Capitol. “I will defend this nation. And I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of our democracy.”
This year, Mr. Biden’s speech will focus on the people who attempted to defend democracy.
Other awardees include:
Harry Dunn, a Capitol Police officer who faced racial slurs and harassment on Jan. 6.
Caroline Edwards, the first law enforcement officer injured by the rioters.
Michael Fanone, a Washington police officer who was injured in the attack.
Aquilino Gonell, a sergeant with the Capitol Police who was injured in the attack.
Eugene Goodman, a Capitol Police officer who led a pro-Trump mob away from the entrance to the Senate chamber during the attack.
Daniel Hodges, a Washington police officer who was injured in the attack. According to the White House, Jan. 6 was his first time in the Capitol.