President Biden’s Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved a request by U.S. Capitol Police on Tuesday for a two-month extension of National Guard troops at the Capitol.
The Pentagon says troops will remain at the Capitol until May 23, though there would be a reduction from approximately 5,000 to 2,300 between March and late May.
The Capitol has been militarized since January 6th, with the government claiming that “Qanon chatter” shows the potential for threats.
The decision was made after a thorough review and after close consideration of its potential impact on readiness.
My statement here: https://t.co/9D7M139FAC
— John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) March 10, 2021
Troops Are Staying, But At Reduced Numbers
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a statement,”Nearly 2,300 National Guard personnel will continue the support mission. This represents a reduction of nearly 50 percent of the current support force.”
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“This decision was made after a thorough review of the request and after close consideration of its potential impact on readiness,” Kirby said.
Kirby said further troop conditions would depend on “as conditions allow.”
“During this extended period, DoD officials will work with the U.S. Capitol Police to incrementally reduce the National Guard footprint as conditions allow,” Kirby continued.
He added, “We thank the National Guard for its support throughout this mission, as well as for its significant efforts across the nation in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Just in: @SecDef has approved a request by the U.S. Capitol Police for continued National Guard support through May 23, 2021.
Nearly 2,300 National Guard personnel will continue the support mission – 50 percent of the current support force. Full statement: pic.twitter.com/oVYG6h6Bj9
— Lara Seligman (@laraseligman) March 10, 2021
Republicans Criticize Militarization Of The Nation’s Capitol
A number of Republicans have called having the Capitol militarized and walled-up under such circumstances without any “credible threat” both costly and ridiculous.
Republican Congresswoman Nancy Mace tweeted on Wednesday, “We literally have our own $516 million police force to defend two square miles. This is ridiculous. #FreeTheCapitol.”
— Rep. Nancy Mace (@RepNancyMace) March 10, 2021
Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert tweeted on Monday, “Madam Speaker, tear down this wall!”
The video, slamming Nancy Pelosi, has gone viral:
Madam Speaker, tear down this wall! pic.twitter.com/Vy6lIJuGc5
— Rep. Lauren Boebert (@RepBoebert) March 8, 2021
Honored to visit members of the @kentuckyguard who’ve been protecting the U.S. Capitol and keeping us safe. I am grateful they put their lives on hold to protect us, and I think it’s time we honor that sacrifice by letting them return home. pic.twitter.com/QUjYK63WVU
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 2, 2021
Most Trump supporters on Jan. 6 did not participate in the Capitol Hill attack
Democrats have insisted that the January 6 Capitol riot, combined with alleged “Qanon chatter,” means the Senate and House are still unsafe from potential similar incidents occurring.
It should be noted that the majority of Trump supporters in the nation’s Capitol on that day did not commit or join the chaos.
Former President Trump drew tens of thousands of supporters on January 6 for his White House speech, and to date only several hundred have been arrested for violations.
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