Nearly 6,200 National Guard are being mobilized to provide security to DC following Capitol riot
A handful of states and the District of Columbia are mobilizing approximately 6,200 National Guard members to Washington to provide security to the city following Wednesday’s deadly riot at the US Capitol, a US defense official tells CNN.
The guardsmen will be activated from the National Guards of Delaware, Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, New York and DC, the official said, adding that although the details are still in the works, the troops will provide security around the city and the Capitol.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Thursday that in addition to the deploying of thousands National Guard members, work has begun to erect a seven-foot “non-scalable fence” around the grounds of the Capitol, both of which will be around for at least the next month.
“These personnel and these security measures will be in place for no less than the next 30 days and we will be keeping all of these support mechanisms in place in constant coordination with the Capitol Hill police and the mayor’s office,” McCarthy said at a press conference, referring to DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.
The mobilization will likely provide some relief to local and federal authorities after the deadly riot at the Capitol on Wednesday that escalated after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters breached one of America’s most iconic buildings.
As the violence increased it was Vice President Mike Pence, not Trump, who helped facilitate the decision to mobilize members of the DC National Guard to the Capitol to provide more security to the building, which went into lockdown as rioters stormed the building, scaling its walls, breaking windows and doors and ransacking offices.
Trump initially resisted deploying the National Guard on Capitol Hill as the mob breached the building, per a source familiar.
Kash Patel, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller’s chief of staff, said in a statement Thursday that Trump and the acting secretary of defense spoke “multiple times this week about the request for National Guard personnel in DC,” but did not specify if they were in contact on Wednesday as the situation at the Capitol spiraled out of control.
“During these conversations the President conveyed to the acting secretary that he should take any necessary steps to support civilian law enforcement requests in securing the Capitol and federal buildings,” Patel added.
Earlier this week, the Trump administration said that civilian law enforcement would be tasked with protection of federal facilities but the Department of Defense received requests for additional support from the National Guard Wednesday as the situation became increasingly dangerous, a senior defense official told CNN.
On Monday, Miller approved a request from Bowser to deploy DC National Guard forces to the city to support local authorities during pro-Trump demonstrations scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, though the 340 forces were not tasked with conducting direct law enforcement missions.
A woman identified as Ashli Babbitt was fatally shot by a US Capitol Police employee as the mob tried to force their way toward the House Chamber where members of Congress were sheltering, US Capitol Police said in a statement. DC Police Chief Robert Contee said three other people died from medical emergencies during the riot.