A group of House Republicans are calling on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to brief members of Congress on why thousands of National Guard troops are being kept in Washington, D.C., until the middle of March. Some may even remain there until the fall time.
Rep. Lisa McClain, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, shared on a recent “Fox & Friends” segment that Pelosi has given zero information and briefings on why troops are being kept in the nation’s capital. She shared that last month’s threat has subsided, but that Pelosi has confirmed to keep at least 5,000 troops in Washington.
“It’s amazing to me that she can do this without any disclosure, without any information, and just continue to spend money with no briefing. Doesn’t make sense to me,” Rep. McClain said.
While Pelosi claimed that troops would remain at the Capitol until mid-March, an internal email between the National Security Council and the Department of Defense suggests it could be longer. In the email, the National Security was asking the Department of Defense to engage Capitol Police planning for post-March 12th support. The email included a scheduled meeting time for agencies to discuss the situation.
“If it’s not possible to sustain at the current level with NG personnel, we need to establish the number of NG personnel (DCNG and out-of-state) we can sustain for an extended period – at least through Fall 2021 – and understand additional options for providing DoD support, to include use of reserve personnel, as well as active component,” wrote Robert Salesses, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security.
McClain added that she felt completely safe in the city and described Washington D.C as a “ghost town.” She said she would rather have her state’s National Guard troops assist with COVID-19 vaccination efforts in her home state [Michigan] instead of being sent to guard the Capitol for “reasons that we don’t know.”
McCain said they were in talks of sending a thousand more National Guard troops to Washington, as well. Military officials have already estimated costs at $500 million (and counting) for securing troops outside of the Capitol. Sen. Tom Cotton also agreed that the National Guard troops had completed their mission and should be allowed back home. He said the lesson of the riot is not to have a quarter of a standing army at the Capitol “just in case,” but rather to calibrate security measures based on the actual threats.
House Republicans also wrote to Speaker Pelosi and accused her of blocking requests for information on security failures. They demanded to know why requests for the National Guard to be deployed before the insurrection were rebuffed. Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund had requested National Guard support on Jan. 4 and was denied.
“It is easy to understand why we and our Senate counterparts remain skeptical that any of his final recommendations will be independent and without influence from you,” the letter reads.
Pelosi’s office denied any claims and said ranking Republicans were trying to “deflect responsibility for the Capitol attack from Donald Trump” and that their letter is a transparently partisan attempt to lay blame on the Speaker.
Keeping National Guard troops at the Capitol where they take their breaks and sleep in freezing cold garages is not the kind of leadership that will unite our country. If anything, it’s a slap in the face to all service members. House Speaker Pelosi refuses to answer any questions about the past and future of the Troop members and what their purpose really is. At this point, it just looks like a political game of vengeance.