House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will meet on Thursday with the mother of Ashli Babbitt, the Trump supporter who was shot and killed by police on Jan. 6.
Micki Witthoeft, who says her daughter was “murdered” during the Capitol riot, has found vocal allies in hard-line Republicans who have cast Babbitt as a martyr.
McCarthy called the rioters “un-American” in the days following the Capitol attack but has since elevated their staunchest defenders in Congress. The speaker had at first planned to meet with a group of advocates for Jan. 6 defendants, according to NBC News, but the speaker ultimately decided to meet solely with Witthoeft.
The officer who shot Babbitt has been cleared of wrongdoing, yet GOP lawmakers such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) have compared her death to that of Tyre Nichols at the hands of police. Babbitt was shot attempting to crawl through a broken glass window to enter the Speaker’s Lobby during the storming of the Capitol.
McCarthy has defended the officer, saying he “did his job,” but faced backlash for handing tens of thousands of hours of surveillance footage from the riot to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who used the video to downplay the events of Jan. 6 on his show earlier this month.
That footage would be made available to defendants facing charges related to the Capitol attack, McCarthy told reporters in February.
The speaker’s Thursday meeting with Witthoeft follows a visit to the Capitol she made in early March, in which she met with a senior staffer for McCarthy as well as James Comer (R-KY), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
Witthoeft was arrested on charges of blocking traffic outside the Capitol two months earlier at a protest marking the two-year anniversary of the Capitol riot. The charges against her were dropped three weeks later.
McCarthy’s office did not respond to a request for comment.