Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s decision to activate National Guard troops ahead of planned demonstrations in support of President Donald Trump on Tuesday and Wednesday, is perceived hypocrisy after she opposed the deployment of Guard forces over the summer to quell riots.
In a letter to District of Columbia National Guard commander Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, Bowser said her request comes as the city anticipates “violence and criminal activity,” after “similar events” occurred in November and December.
National Guard officials said that about 340 unarmed troops would be called up to assist with crowd-control at train stations and helping Metropolitan Police officers close streets.
“Capital guardsmen will also support D.C. Fire and Emergency Management Services with specially- trained Civil Support Team personnel. Guardsmen are prepared to respond to augment the main missions, should additional personnel be required,” the DC National Guard said in a statement, The Hill reported.
“At the request of Mayor Muriel Bowser, the District of Columbia National Guard is in a support role to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) which will enable them to provide a safe environment for our fellow citizens to exercise their First Amendment right to demonstrate,” Walker said.
“Our main mission is augmenting select traffic-control points and metro stations identified by MPD,” he added.
In June, as demonstrations in support of Black Lives Matter descended into violence and rioting that resulted in widespread property damage with threats to historical monuments in the nation’s capital, President Trump ordered in National Guard troops from D.C. and around the country to help police protect property and end the destruction.
A look at DC after the riots pic.twitter.com/BJgRzEEKb6
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) June 2, 2020
At the time, Bowser complained that the presence of Guard troops in addition to stepped-up federal law enforcement was “inflaming” the situation and “adding to the grievances” of people protesting George Floyd’s death.
“The protestors have been peaceful, and last night, the Metropolitan Police Department did not make a single arrest. Therefore, I am requesting that you withdraw all extraordinary law enforcement and military presence from Washington, DC,” Bowser wrote in a letter to Trump, which came after some 5,800 troops, federal officers, and agents were deployed.
“This multiplicity of forces can breed dangerous confusion, such as when helicopters are used in a war-like tactic to frighten and disperse peaceful protesters,” Bowser complained.
During a subsequent press conference, Bowser — who, unlike state governors, is not in control over DC Guard troops — demanded that all out-of-state troops be withdrawn from the city.
“The very first thing is we want the military — we want troops from out-of-state out of Washington, DC,” she told reporters.
As demonstrations and violence escalated, some 4,500 troops from Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah were sent to DC under orders from the Trump administration.
At one point, Bowser’s administration ordered 200 Utah National Guard troops out of a hotel, claiming that “overbilling” and budget concerns were at issue.
“Last night, we were informed that our service members would be relocated from their hotel rooms,” the Utah National Guard said in a statement.
These brave men and women have risked their lives protecting DC for three days. Rioting, looting, arson, and vandalism have all disappeared bc these soldiers served. And now they are being kicked to the curb by an ungrateful mayor. This must be stopped. 2/2 pic.twitter.com/YYyctKvUqN
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) June 5, 2020
“These brave men and women have risked their lives protecting DC for three days. Rioting, looting, arson, and vandalism have all disappeared bc these soldiers served. And now they are being kicked to the curb by an ungrateful mayor. This must be stopped,” he tweeted.
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