In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper Friday, Gladys Sicknick and her son’s girlfriend Sandra Garza said they were clinging to hope that they could change the minds of senators opposed to the independent commission, but were still not surprised at the ultimate outcome.
“They went through their motions, but you can tell that underneath they were being nice to us,” Sicknick said of her meetings Thursday.
“I don’t understand it. They are elected for us, the people, and they don’t care about that,” she added. “They care about money, I guess, their pocketbooks. So they’ll be in front of the cameras when they feel like it. They just don’t care, and it’s not right.”
Garza said of the Republicans who opposed the commission: “I think you know it’s all talk and no action. Clearly, they’re not backing the blue.”
“It’s just unbelievable to me that they could do nothing about this,” she said.
Sicknick, Garza, Capitol Hill Police Officer Harry Dunn and DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone met with more than a dozen Republican senators Thursday ahead of the Senate’s vote Friday on creating a commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection. They had requested meetings with all 50 GOP senators.
Sickinck said that the senators were nice to them, but that the meetings were also tense because they knew that many of the senators weren’t sincere — and were not going to budge in their opposition to forming the commission.
“They were very charming, they knew what they were doing, they knew how to talk to us, but we kind of held back,” Sicknick said. “It was just, it was tense, and we made believe everything was fine and we were very nice to them, for the most part.”
Sicknick said she was hopeful that some of the senators who voted for the legislation, including Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, were swayed in part by their meetings.
“Maybe we changed their minds. That would be great,” Sicknick said.
Garza said that in the meetings, many of the Republicans said they were opposed to the commission because it was partisan.
“Well you know, that’s baloney,” she told Tapper, pointing to an amendment from Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, one of the six Republicans to vote to advance the commission legislation, that would allow both sides to select the commission staffing.
“I think they just don’t want to do the right thing,” Garza added. “I think what you’re seeing is elitism at its finest.”
“I said to him that he got lucky. He got lucky. It could have been very different that day,” Garza said of the meeting with Johnson. “Those who want to run with this narrative that, ‘Well it was tourists that day, and I didn’t feel threatened’ — they got lucky. That’s the truth of it.”
Garza said that she remained hopeful Friday’s vote wasn’t the end of the effort to get to the bottom of what happened on January 6.
“Though there were some tense moments yesterday, I’m hopeful at least they’ll be able to reflect on some of what we said as the days go on, and they’ll be able to start to get the ball rolling now,” she said.
Asked to reflect on her unlikely role advocating for legislation in the Senate, Sicknick pointed to her son’s legacy and heroism on January 6.
“I said this morning, I said I can’t believe I have a child that’s going to be in the history books for all the wrong reasons,” she said. “Because he was such a good person, and he was so good at his job. And he was texting all his buddies to see if they were ok on that day, while he was fighting for four-plus hours without any help.”
This story has been updated.