GOP lawmakers want briefing regarding continued National Guard presence at Capitol
A group of House Republicans is asking the Defense Department to brief them on why thousands of National Guardsmen are expected to remain in D.C. until at least March, Fox News reports.
National Guard Bureau spokesman Wayne Hall confirmed to Fox News Tuesday that National Guard members will remain in the Capitol until at least mid-March.
“As we continue to work to meet the final post-inauguration requirements, the National Guard has been requested to continue supporting federal law enforcement agencies with 7,000 members and will draw down to 5,000 through mid-March,” Hall told Fox News.
Acting Army Secretary John Whitley said at a briefing Monday that the FBI has been warned of several planned protests and potential unrest in the coming weeks that will require a Guard presence in the Capital.
“We are posturing our forces to be able to respond to those threats if they emerge,” Whitley said.
Several GOP lawmakers are criticizing the decision, saying the National Guard should be used as an absolute last resort.
12 GOP lawmakers wrote a letter to Whitley requesting a briefing regarding the decision for significant troop presence in D.C. through mid-March.
“Our intention is for the briefing to cover ongoing threats to the Capitol, justification of the decision for a significant troop presence through mid-March, and plans for troop utilization during the time period,” the letter says.
“As you know better than anyone, our National Guard men and women are deployed on short notice and pulled away from their families and jobs,” the letter continues.
“Further, the Guard has endured unprecedented stress on the force in the past year given COVID-19, social unrest, natural disasters, and ongoing overseas requirements. The National Guard should be used as an option of absolute last resort.”
The letter concludes, “We are seeking clarification and justification on behalf of the National Guard men and women that have kept us safe over the past month and year. We are seeking this threat assessment briefing as soon as reasonably possible and greatly appreciate your time and attention.”
Sen. Tom Cotton agreed, saying time it’s to send the troops home.
“The National Guard soldiers who deployed to protect the Capitol this month certainly deserve such gratitude. They deployed on short notice, leaving behind their families and jobs. Despite cold weather and uncomfortable conditions, these soldiers did their duty, in the finest traditions of the Guard,” Cotton said.
“Their presence, coupled with tough federal charges against the Capitol rioters, deterred any further violence; the presidential inauguration occurred without incident.”
“With the inauguration complete and threats receding, now it’s time, yes, to send home the troops.”