The National Guard has been fully activated to deal with pro-Trump insurrectionists on Capitol Hill, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller announced Wednesday afternoon.
“We have fully activated the D.C. National Guard to assist federal and local law enforcement as they work to peacefully address the situation,” Miller said in a statement. “We are prepared to provide additional support as necessary and appropriate as requested by local authorities. Our people are sworn to defend the constitution and our democratic form of government and they will act accordingly.”
As lawmakers met inside the Capitol to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, Trump supporters stormed into the building and forced congressional offices to evacuate. Police used tear gas to subdue the protesters and, inside the House of Representatives chambers, journalists reported hearing shots.
In his statement, Miller said he and Gen. Mark Milley, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, spoke to congressional leaders “about the situation at the U.S. Capitol.” The Pentagon was initially criticized for declining a request from Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to send the National Guard to the Capitol, but by 3:45 p.m., Washington Post journalist Dan Lamothe reported that more than 1,000 Guardsmen would be on duty in DC.
BREAKING: The entire D.C. National Guard will be activated today, putting about 1,100 guardsmen on duty tonight, defense official tells me. Comes after breach of Capitol by pro-Trump protesters.
— Dan Lamothe (@DanLamothe) January 6, 2021
Earlier on Wednesday, Virginia agreed to send state troopers and members of its own National Guard to DC. More troops could be on the way. A spokesperson for Army secretary Ryan McCarthy said his office was “in close contact with local and federal law enforcement agencies to review potential additional support requirements for the D.C. National Guard.”