House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met with the mother of slain Jan. 6 protester Ashli Babbitt on Thursday, according to NBC News.
While Micki Witthoeft's claim that her daughter was "murdered" by police during the Capitol Building breach on Jan. 6, 2021, has been disputed by McCarthy, she has found support in conservative firebrands who have both backed her and transformed Babbitt into a martyr.
NBC News reports that McCarthy — who called the protesters "un-American" in the aftermath of the demonstration — had initially planned to meet with a group of Jan. 6 defendant advocates but then changed course and decided to meet only with Witthoeft because "she requested a meeting."
"I felt like it was a good meeting," Witthoeft told NBC afterwards. "Speaker McCarthy was delightful."
Capitol Police announced in August, 2021, that the officer who shot Babbitt acted in a "lawful" manner and would not face internal discipline.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has compared Babbitt's death to that of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who was fatally beaten by officers in Memphis. Babbitt was shot trying to crawl through a broken window to enter the Capitol Building during the protest.
Breaking with Greene, McCarthy said in February that he believes the officer "did his job" in shooting Babbitt.
The speaker's meeting with Witthoeft on Thursday followed a meeting she had earlier this month with a senior McCarthy staffer and Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., who chairs the House Oversight Committee.
Arrested at a January protest marking the two-year anniversary of the attack, Witthoeft was charged with blocking traffic outside the Capitol. Authorities dropped the charges against her three weeks later, according to the Washington Examiner.
McCarthy has faced scrutiny for handing tens of thousands of hours of surveillance footage from Jan. 6 over to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who recently aired video segments on his show.
That footage will also be made available to defendants whose charges stem from allegedly participating in the Jan. 6 protest, McCarthy told reporters in February.
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