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Biden to mark Jan. 6 anniversary with presidential medals for election officials and police

Among those to be honored are former Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, Georgia elections worker Ruby Freeman and former Washington, D.C., Police Officer Michael Fanone.
President Joe Biden talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Jan. 4, 2023.
President Joe Biden talks to reporters Wednesday on the South Lawn of the White House.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Friday will mark the second anniversary of the attack on the Capitol by awarding the Presidential Citizens Medal to a dozen election workers, officials and law enforcement officers for "contributions to our democracy" before and during the riot, a White House official said.

"These 12 heroes demonstrated courage and selflessness during a moment of peril for our nation," the official said.

Among those set to receive the medal — the country's second-highest civilian honor — are former Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, a Republican who resisted pressure from then-President Donald Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to organize a legislative hearing on voter fraud allegations and have the state Legislature appoint an alternative slate of electors.

Other elected officials receiving the medal are Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Al Schmidt, the former vice chair of Philadelphia’s Board of Elections.

Biden is also awarding medals to Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, the mother and daughter Georgia election workers who were targeted with racist death threats after Giuliani and Trump amplified debunked conspiracy theories accusing them of having manipulated votes in the weeks after the 2020 election.

Trump has continued to press the false claims against the pair, including in posts on his social media site this week.

Also receiving the award are several Capitol Police officers who defended the Capitol, including Eugene Goodman, who drew rioters away from the floor of the Senate while members were still evacuating; Caroline Edwards, who is thought to be the first officer injured in the attack; Harry Dunn, who was slammed with racial slurs as he defended the building; and Aquilino Gonell, who resigned last month, citing the trauma he suffered in the attack.

Former Washington Police Officer Michael Fanone, who suffered a heart attack and a traumatic brain injury from the attack, is also set to receive the medal, which is awarded to people who have “performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.”

Washington Police Officer Daniel Hodges, who was "crushed" by protesters in a tunnel leading to the Capitol, will be awarded the medal, as well, the official said.

Biden is also posthumously awarding the medal to Brian Sicknick, the Capitol Police officer who died the day after the riot after he suffered two strokes.