OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Ashli Babbitt, the only person killed during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building as a result of direct action taken by others, was an Air Force veteran who served the country proudly for more than a dozen years, but according to her mother, she was denied a military burial earlier this year.
Babbitt, who was shot and killed by Lt. Michael Byrd as it appeared as though she was about to crawl through the broken window of a door leading to the House floor, should have been able to be buried with full military honors, her mother, Micki Witthoeft, told Newsmax TV Saturday, because she loved her country enough that she would have died for it.
It’s one thing for anti-Trump political leaders and Americans to talk disparagingly of her daughter, Witthoeft said, but having the Air Force turn away from her just makes it worse.
“I think the military disrespected her,” Witthoeft told John Tabacco on Saturday night’s “Wise Guys.” “We had some proud patriots who did a flag service for her and played taps, and it was a beautiful service, but to be told by the Air Force that she didn’t qualify for participating in Jan. 6, that was a slap in the face.
“To me, that was just so disrespectful and no reason for it,” she added.
“In my heart, she’s a hero,” Witthoeft told Tabacco. “But I don’t need everyone to see her that way. I just need people to know that she had goodness in her heart and she had patriotic thoughts in her heart and not insurrection.”
She went on to say that the anger shown during the Jan. 6 protest was a result of disdain for laws and other changes made to voting regulations ahead of the November election that likely tilted the outcome away from former President Donald Trump, not a full-blown rebellion.
“At this point, I think it should be libelous to push that [insurrection] narrative forward, because nobody’s been charged with insurrection – not one person that was there that day,” Witthoeft noted.
“Some people are still in jail for 10 months for doing nothing more than carrying a flag,” she added in her first televised interview since her daughter was killed.
“She was a brave, quintessential American woman, independent, pragmatic – you know, if there was a problem in front of her she was going to solve it,” Witthoeft said, adding she “answered the call for her country several times,” serving four tours of duty overseas in the Middle East, Newsmax reported.
“She answered President Trump’s call to go and protest the election, and that’s because she felt like that’s where she should be,” Witthoeft said.
“I miss her. This country misses her. She was a true patriot.”
Byrd was fully exonerated by the Capitol Police; the Justice Department also saw no reason to prosecute him for any violations of the unarmed Babbitt’s civil rights.
In August, Witthoeft lamented members of Congress who had not reached out yet to explain what happened to her daughter, who lived in California at the time of her death.
“I knew that my daughter had been shot but there had been no official contact with our family as to who [shot her] — and my son-in-law actually learned of Ashli’s death by seeing it on TV, but it was still hard to get confirmation from anybody. We called hospitals, it was just hard to get confirmation at that time. So his confirmation of his wife’s death came through the television,” she told conservative author and pundit Dinesh D’Souza in August.
She said that Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Speaker and California Rep. Nancy Pelosi had brushed her off, as had the Biden administration and the Justice Department when she asked for details of her daughter’s death.