WASHINGTON — The Senate ended Friday’s impeachment trial proceedings with a unanimous vote to award the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the nation’s highest civilian honors, to U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who directed the mob away from the Senate chamber on Jan. 6.
“Here in this trial, we saw a new video, powerful video showing calmness under pressure, his courage in the line of duty, his foresight in the midst of chaos, and his willingness to make himself a target of the mob’s rage so that others might reach safety,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said before recognizing Goodman, who was sitting in the back of the chamber.
Goodman received a standing ovation from the senators, whom he saved from danger on Jan. 6. Goodman joined in the applause when Schumer mentioned the heroism of other law enforcement officers that day.
“Our heartfelt gratitude extends to each and every one of them, particularly now as members of the force continue to bear scars seen and unforeseen from the events of that disgraceful day, let us give them all the honor and recognition they so justly deserve,” Schumer said, a seeming reference to not only the physical injuries many endured, but also the mental anguish that caused two officers to later take their own lives.
“In the face of lawlessness, the officers of the U.S. Capitol lived out the fullest sense of their oaths,” said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “If not for a quick thinking and bravery of Officer Eugene Goodman in particular, people in this chamber may not have escaped that day unharmed.”
Goodman alone faced a swarm of rioters near the Senate chamber. They followed him up a flight of stairs and he led them in the opposite direction of the doors to the chamber where the senators were.
During the trial, the House impeachment managers showed previously unseen security footage of Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, unknowingly begin to head in the direction of the mob before Goodman turns him around and tells him to run the other way.
Romney said he had not been aware it was Goodman who had warned him away from the mob and later thanked the officer.
Also this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced legislation to honor all the law enforcement officers, including Goodman, who risked their lives on Jan. 6 with the Congressional Gold Medal.
Goodman was swarmed by appreciative senators as they left the chamber after a long day hearing from Trump’s defense team and posing questions to both sides. He exchanged salutes with Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa. An impromptu receiving line formed of senators who fist bumped or elbow bumped him on their way out.
This coming together in honor of Goodman capped an emotionally trying week of reliving the terror of the Capitol siege as House managers used video and audio to re-create the day in trying to make their case of Trump’s culpability in inciting the attack.
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The Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian and Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.