House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s task force to review and make immediate recommendations to bolster the Capitol building’s security after the January 6 breach included two retired generals who expressed anti-Trump or pro-Black Lives Matters views, which may bolster Republican claims that the task force was not bipartisan enough.
One of the retired generals on the 16-member task force is Army Lt. Gen. (Retired) Karen Gibson, who has written anti-Trump commentary in letters to the editor and op-eds. She is currently the Senate Sergeant at Arms, in charge of protecting senators.
She wrote in a July 19, 2020, letter-to-the-editor that Trump was acting like an “autocrat” and called for voting Republican Sen. Steve Daines (MT) to be voted out if he did not stand up to Trump. She wrote in the Billings-Gazette:
I am appalled by President Trump’s latest action to erode the independence and integrity of our justice system by commuting Roger Stone’s prison sentence. Granting clemency to a political ally, particularly one convicted of lying to protect him, is a tactic straight from the autocrat’s playbook.
Gibson also wrote in a June 19, 2020, op-ed in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that she supported an essay by former Defense Secretary James Mattis condemning Trump, and she criticized the deployment of National Guard troops in D.C. during the summer of 2020.
American service members vow to defend the unique ideals on which our nation is founded, such as freedom of speech and peaceful freedom of assembly.
Like other veterans who sacrificed to defend them, it has pained me to see these essential freedoms violated, especially on the streets of our nation’s capital, and it chills me to think of employing the U.S. military, particularly active duty forces, for domestic political purposes as though America were some authoritarian dictatorship. I cannot voice my fears as eloquently as James Mattis, so I have let his moving essay speak on my behalf.
Contrary to views about deploying National Guard forces to D.C. during the summer of 2020, the task force Gibson served on recommended a quick reaction force that could be staffed by National Guard forces or members of the military to protect the Capitol year-round.
Another retired general on the task force expressed support for Black Lives Matter movement, whose protesters took to he streets after the death of George Floyd, sometimes causing injury to police officers and destruction of property.
Army Maj. Gen. (Retired) Linda Singh wrote in a Q and A with the Baltimore Business Journal, “The Black Lives Matter movement has spurred long overdue conversations. Now we need to use the momentum to create change.”
The task force was led by Army Lt. Gen. (Retired) Russel Honoré, who had also made many anti-Trump partisan and controversial statements.
He has referred to U.S. Capitol Police officers as “a–hats” and has claimed that they “allowed their buddies” into the Capitol during the January 6 breach, and that 30 to 40 percent of them are “Trumpsters,” according to Fox News.
Before the task force, Republicans expressed concern that the task force was not bipartisan enough. They wrote in a letter to Pelosi, “Although we are grateful for his service to our country, [Lt. Gen.] Honoré has made many comments critical of U.S. Capitol Police officers and certain Members of Congress — statements that call into question the supposed impartiality of his review.”
After the task force issued its report this week, Republicans again expressed concern during a closed door meeting that the review was not bipartisan, according to CNN.
“This was not a bipartisan investigation, this was Nancy Pelosi’s investigation,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) told CNN.
He said the Honoré task force is calling for “a lot of requests for money, not a really comprehensive plan at all,” questioning the report’s call for an additional 900 U.S. Capitol Police officers and members of USCP’s force, when he said there were only 232 vacancies on January 6.
The Washington Post editorial board also called into question why more resources were needed, when the Capitol Police is one of the best-funded police forces in the country. It said:
One would not know from reading the report that the agency is already one of the largest and best-funded police departments in the country. With a budget of more than $460 million and 2,300 employees, it is roughly equivalent to the police forces of cities such as Atlanta. It is charged with guarding two square miles.
A Republican at the briefing asked the task force members if any evidence materialized showing a GOP member was involved in planning the attack and the answer was no, a source told CNN.