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Report: Defense Officials Uncomfortable With Optics Of National Guard Deployment

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Department of Defense (DOD) officials were reportedly hesitant to approve the further deployment of National Guard forces because “they do not want the images of uniformed troops [marching] on the Capitol.”

Democratic Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser requested further deployment of National Guard troops to help restore order at the U.S. Capitol, where pro-Trump protesters and rioters stormed the building. She is also instituting a curfew beginning 6 p.m. Wednesday. Bowser had already mobilized 100 National Guard troops ahead of the rally to protest the results of the 2020 election, which directly preceded the riots at the Capitol. However, Bowser can only mobilize the National Guard with the approval of federal officials.

Fox News’ Bret Baier told fellow Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer that they were considering the move, but concerned about the optics. Instead, the DOD reportedly wanted police reinforcements to aid Capitol Police. President Donald Trump did end up directing the National Guard to help suppress the riots at the Capitol mid-afternoon Wednesday, reported Fox News.

Fox’s @BretBaier: “Nancy Pelosi and Mayor Bowser have requested the National Guard be deployed … that is being analyzed right now I’m being told by the Department of Defense officials … but they do not want the images of uniformed troops on the Capitol.” pic.twitter.com/AxG2RvVaeq

— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) January 6, 2021

The National Guard was also deployed over the summer in D.C. ahead of Black Lives Matter demonstrations to protect federal monuments and statues. The National Guard faced severe criticism for that deployment, seen by some as infringing upon First Amendment rights, Defense One’s Katie Bo Williams suggested. (RELATED: DC National Guard Troops Test Positive For Coronavirus)

This is plausible. Guard got *real* burned by debacle surrounding June protests—optics of military officers, even Guardsmen—policing Americans exercising their 1A rights. The military as a whole is extremely sensitive to that issue & to perception of being involved in election. https://t.co/tFZhPcdt4H

— Katie Bo Williams (@KatieBoWill) January 6, 2021

Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced that he would send Virginia National Guardsmen and 200 state troopers to the Capitol. Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also ordered Maryland State Police and National Guardsmen to the Capitol, he announced on Twitter.

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