Washington, DC

Capitol Police Requests to Extend the Stay of the National Guard Amid Security Concerns

Sulabh Gupta

WASHINGTON, D.C - The U.S representatives canceled their session on Thursday, March 04th, after the Capitol Police warned of a brewing conspiracy that a militia group could have planned another breach of the building. The house was scheduled to vote after debating the police reform bill. March 4th was the day that the far-right conspiracy theorist group QAnon believed Donald Trump would return for a second term since Biden "didn't" win the election. The date was hailed as the "true inauguration day" by QAnon and some Trump supporters.

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Image Source: Maria Thalassinou on Unsplash.com

It is reported that due to the concerns about safety and the likelihood of another breach of the Capitol Hill, the US National Guard has been asked to extend their stay by another couple of months in Washington, D.C. Capitol police's request is currently being reviewed by the Pentagon but given the recent events when Trump-supporting groups stormed the Capitol Hill in January, it seems like Pentagon would err on the side of caution.

It is reported that due to the concerns about safety and the likelihood of another breach of the Capitol Hill, the US National Guard has been asked to extend their stay by another couple of months in Washington, D.C. Capitol police's request is currently being reviewed by the Pentagon but given the recent events when Trump-supporting groups stormed the Capitol Hill in January, it seems like Pentagon would err on the side of caution.

Currently, about 5000 members reside in Washington and are scheduled to leave on March 12th. The 2-month extension for the National Guard would mean that volunteers from other states will be required to meet demand.

" The department takes its mission seriously and will do whatever is necessary to achieve that mission . We have already made significant security upgrades to include establishing a physical structure and increasing manpower to ensure the protection of Congress, the public, and our police officers." a statement from Capitol Police said.

Lawmakers have had several investigations and hearings to unravel the event of the January 06th riots. The US justice department has charged over 300 people over their role in the insurrection at Capitol Hill. Recently, Rachel Marie Powell, 40, a Mercer County mother of 8 was indicted by a grand jury on charges related to her role in the rioting at the U.S capitol a couple of months ago. She was accused of having internal knowledge of the Capitol layout and was instructing other rioters where to go and what to do.

The attack in January resulted in beefing up the security of the Capitol. However, several lawmakers have expressed concerns about their safety. While Democrats are worried about the true safety of Capitol Hill, Republicans have downplayed the riots as a one-off event.

"We want to understand what the plan is. None of us like looking at the fencing, the gates, the uniformed presence around the Capitol. We can't depend on the National Guard for our security." - Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich.

Sen. Ted Cruz stated in a conference last week that the request for additional security measures is a "political theatre" intended to cast Trump supporters in a bad light. Sen. James Inhofe said on Thursday that he was outraged by the request from Capitol police to extend the stay of the National Guard.

"I haven’t been satisfied with any explanation Congress has received at numerous briefings that all these personnel, resources, and barbed wire are needed. What this solution should not look like is keeping the National Guardsmen here indefinitely, as has been rumored. This is not their job or their mission — and the image this would paint on the world stage is concerning." - Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in her weekly news conference, said that the National Guard troops need to remain as long as they are needed and the Congress members are not willing to take any chances with the rioters.

The questioning of the legitimacy of Biden's election victory continues to be echoed by many national and local Republicans. Groups like QAnon continue to be a threat to the safety of lawmakers at Capitol Hill and even if the National Guard's stay is extended by a couple of months, there may still be reinforcements required in Washington, D.C. until the rhetoric of voter fraud by former president Trump supporters dies down.

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