The mother of fallen US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who had asked to meet with GOP senators, met with several of them on Thursday ahead of an expected vote on the January 6 commission that so far is short of the 10 Republican votes needed to pass.
Gladys Sicknick told reporters Thursday that she is hopeful her meetings will change their minds on whether to vote for a January 6 commission.
“I hope so. I hope so. Brian had a work ethic second to none. He was just there for our country,” she said. “He just was doing his job and he got caught up in it. And it’s very sad.”
“This is why I’m here today,” she added. “Usually I’m staying in the background, and I just couldn’t stay quiet anymore.”
Following a meeting with Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, Sicknick told reporters she was still hopeful the legislation creating the commission will pass.
“They sit and listen very well, but bottom line is, we don’t know” how the vote will go, she said.
The meetings, which were all cordial, were “very hard” for Sicknick, according to a source familiar with them.
The meetings with Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were “very helpful because they knew someone is fighting for them,” the source added. All three senators have expressed support for advancing the bill, while the vast majority of the 50 Senate Republicans are expected to oppose it.
The source said it’s hard for Sicknick to understand why most Republicans aren’t voting for the commission, and at one point she said, “How can they not be doing the right thing?”
Thirteen Republican senators have declined to meet with her, according to a source with knowledge.
In a statement obtained by CNN, Sicknick writes, “My son, Capitol Police Officer, Brian Sicknick, died on January 7, 2021. He died because of the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol Building on January 6.”
She adds, “He and his fellow officers fought for hours and hours against those animals who were trying to take over the Capitol Building and our Democracy, as we know it. While they were fighting, congressmen and senators were locking themselves inside their offices. According to some who were barricaded in their offices said it looked like tourists walking through the Capitol. Really?”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has set up a vote on the commission, which is expected to take place on Thursday.
The overwhelming majority of GOP senators are expected to filibuster the measure and, as of now, only two GOP senators — Romney and Murkowski — have indicated they would be willing to support the current legislation. Collins said she would vote for a procedural motion to begin debate on the legislation Thursday to be able to offer an amendment to make changes to the bill, according to her spokeswoman Annie Clark.
The measure passed in the House last week, with 35 Republican members voting for the commission.
Sicknick notes that her son died and that many other officers were wounded in the attack and says, “Not having a January 6 Commission to look into exactly what occurred is a slap in the faces of all the officers who did their jobs that day.” She is writing a letter to senators that lays out why she thinks the commission is the right way forward, and says she “understands this is a last minute request but would appreciate any time” senators can spare.
According to a source with knowledge, the other Republicans who have agreed to meet with her are Cassidy, Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming, Mike Braun of Indiana, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Ted Cruz of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Rob Portman of Ohio, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Steve Daines of Montana, who will speak with her by phone.
Several other senators offered to have staff members meet with her, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, John Thune of South Dakota, Rick Scott of Florida, John Cornyn of Texas and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota. It is unclear if Sicknick will have time to meet with the staffers.
CNN has reached out to all 50 Republicans to confirm their plans.
Sicknick was joined by her son’s girlfriend, Sandra Garza, Capitol Hill Police Officer Harry Dunn and DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, according to the source. Fanone himself was brutally assaulted while defending the Capitol on January 6. The group hoped to impress on GOP senators how important the commission would be.
McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, announced last week he would oppose the bill creating the commission, describing it as overly partisan and unnecessary given preexisting investigations into the riot.
Romney told CNN on Capitol Hill on Wednesday that blocking the bill would reflect “not well” on the GOP.
“I think the perception is on the part of the public that the January 6 Commission just trying to get to the truth of what happened, and that Republicans would be seen as not wanting to let the truth come out,” he told CNN. “I don’t believe that’s what’s the motivation but I think that’s the perception.”
When asked if he would be meeting with Gladys Sicknick, Romney stated that he’d be “happy” to meet with her.
Garza said she was “thankful” for Romney and his support after meeting with him on Thursday.
“We just don’t want other people to get harmed or for this to happen again,” she said, later adding that members who are considering voting against the legislation should “look at the footage of what happened. It’s very obvious it wasn’t a peaceful day.”
The Justice Department hasn’t linked Sicknick’s death a day after the riot to the attack, and a medical examiner ruled last month he died of strokes, deemed to be natural causes. Still, police body-camera and surveillance video released late last month showed a chemical spray assault of Sicknick and others during the riot. The Justice Department has charged at least 400 people in connection with the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, according to a CNN review of court documents last month.
This story has been updated with additional developments and reaction.