Rosendale votes no on Juneteenth, medals for fallen officers

One of only six members of Congress to vote no on both bills

By: - June 17, 2021 6:01 pm

U.S. president Donald Trump (L) looks on as Matt Rosendale (R) speaks during a campaign rally at Four Seasons Arena on July 5, 2018 in Great Falls, Montana. President Trump held a campaign style ‘Make America Great Again’ rally in Great Falls, Montana with thousands in attendance. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Montana’s lone Congressman Matt Rosendale was one of only six members of the United States House of Representatives who voted against both the legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday and award Congressional Gold Medals to fallen U.S. Capitol Police officers killed in the line of duty.

Rosendale took to Twitter and other media to defend his stance on both of the votes.

“Let’s call an ace an ace,” he said. “This is an effort by the Left to create a day out of whole cloth to celebrate identity politics as part of its larger efforts to make Critical Race Theory the reigning ideology of our country. Since I believe in treating everyone equally, regardless of race, and that we should be focused on what unites us rather than our differences, I will vote on (the Juneteenth legislation).”

He said the legislation was intended to make “Americans feel bad and convince them that our country is evil.”

The Daily Montanan asked Rosendale’s office what portions of the legislation make citizens feel bad and asked for examples of how the holiday portrays the country as evil. Rosendale did not respond to those questions.

He also said in a statement that those pushing for the federal holiday, which commemorates the end of slavery being heard in Texas in 1865, do not want to highlight the good the country has done for the world. He gave the examples of flight, the internet and the U.S. Constitution.

Rosendale also declined to specify if and how he would bring legislation to support those national achievements.

Meanwhile, Rosendale defended his vote not to support the Congressional Gold Medal to fallen officers, including officer William “Billy” Evans who died as a car plowed into a barricade at the Capitol on April 2. The bill also awarded Congressional Gold medals to two officers who died in the Jan. 6 riot —  Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood.

Rosendale had previously supported the legislation for medals for the fallen Capitol officers, but called out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who sponsored the bill, for trying to tie Evans’ death to that of the Jan. 6 insurrection, saying she was trying to pin Evans’ death on the mob of January.

“Instead (Evans’) sacrifice was wrapped into Jan. 6, which he believes dishonors the memory of Officer Evans,” said Rosendale spokesman Harry Fones.

The bill, House Resolution 3325, was called “An Act to award four congressional gold medals to the United States Capitol Police and those who protected the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.”

The bill’s text regarding Evans states in Section 6: “On April 2, 2021 Officer William ‘Billy’ Evans was killed while protecting the North Barricade of the Capitol. Officer Evans was a distinguished member of the First Responders Unit and an eighteen-year veteran of the United States Capitol Police. Also injured in that assault was Officer Kenneth Shaver. Officer Shaver is a fifteen-year veteran of the United States Capitol Police.”

President Joe Biden declared Friday a national holiday for federal workers. Rosendale’s office did not respond whether Rosendale would be taking the day off.

Rosendale is one of only six House members who voted against both pieces of legislation. The other five members of Congress are all Republicans — Andy Biggs of Arizona; Andrew Clyde of Georgia; Paul Gosar of Arizona; Ralph Norman of South Carolina, and Chip Roy of Texas.

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Darrell Ehrlick
Darrell Ehrlick

Darrell Ehrlick is the editor-in-chief of the Daily Montanan, after leading his native state’s largest paper, The Billings Gazette. He is an award-winning journalist, author, historian and teacher, whose career has taken him to North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, and Wyoming. With Darrell at the helm, the Gazette staff took Montana’s top newspaper award six times in seven years. Darrell's books include writing the historical chapters of “Billings Memories” Volumes I-III, and “It Happened in Minnesota.” He has taught journalism at Winona State University and Montana State University-Billings, and has served on the student publications board of the University of Wyoming.