Northam sends Virginia National Guard, 200 state troopers to assist at Capitol
RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY/AP/NEXSTAR) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam sent members of the Virginia National Guard along with 200 Virginia State Police troopers to assist at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.
The move was a response to a request from the mayor after supporters of President Donald Trump marched on the building Wednesday while members of the U.S. House and Senate met to record the vote tally affirming Joe Biden as the next president.
The Senate recessed its debate over an objection to the results of the Electoral College after protesters forced police to lock down the building. One person, a woman, was also shot. She later died.
A Defense Department official said earlier that Washington, D.C., had requested an additional 200 National Guard members as supporters of President Donald Trump violently clashed with law enforcement at the Capitol.
That request was under review at the Pentagon to determine how the Guard can respond to support law enforcement.
About two hours after announcing he was sending Virginia National Guard members to the Capitol, Northam issued a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for Alexandria and Arlington at the request of those localities.
He also issued a state of emergency so Virginia can continue to respond to assist.
Wednesday night, Northam issued a statement about the mayhem in the nation’s capital.
“I have been working all afternoon and this evening with leaders in Washington D.C., the Virginia National Guard, Virginia State Police, and others in the federal government.
“The violence we saw at the U.S. Capitol today was nothing short of an armed insurrection and a humiliating assault on American democracy. The President incited this mob with his refusal to accept the lawful results of a fair and secure election. And the members of Congress who have enabled him—and continue to encourage and praise his efforts—bear just as much responsibility.
“This did not come about overnight. When elected leaders purposefully reject facts and fan the flames of conspiracy theories, all in pursuit of power, they are taking dangerous steps. And now we are seeing where those steps can lead. God forbid we experience anything worse.
“I continue to pray for the safety of every member of the House and Senate, all the staff, the journalists, everyone who works in the Capitol. And I commend the Virginia National Guard and Virginia State Police for quickly stepping up in this time of great need.”
“Let me be clear: Virginia will be there for as long as it takes to protect our nation’s capital and ensure the peaceful transition of power.”
As of 4:15 p.m., the Pentagon said that about 1,100 D.C. National Guard members were being mobilized to help support law enforcement.
According to officials, the Guard members have a very specific mission that does not include putting military at the Capitol. Instead, the Guard must be used to backfill law enforcement outside the Capitol complex, freeing up more law enforcement to respond to the Capitol.
Officials said the request for more National Guard had not been rejected.
Trump had urged his supporters to come to Washington to protest Congress’s formal approval of Biden’s win. Several Republican lawmakers backed his calls, despite there being no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing in the election.
Press Secretary Kaleigh McEnany tweeted just after 3:30 p.m. EST that Trump had ordered the National Guard to join other protective services.
“The D.C. Guard has been mobilized to provide support to federal law enforcement in the District of Columbia. Acting Secretary Miller has been in contact with Congressional leadership, and Secretary McCarthy has been working with the D.C. government. The law enforcement response will be led by the Department of Justice,” Jonathan Hoffman, chief Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon regarding D.C. Guard mobilization.