National troops deployed ahead pro-Trump rallies wear special black vests to send message

An estimated 300 or so members of the District of Columbia National Guard deployed to assist local police with crowd-control measures ahead of a Wednesday rally in support of President Donald Trump, will wear special black vests to denote their mission.

A spokeswoman for the DC Guard, Capt. Tinashe T. Machona, told Fox News the black ID vests are meant to signal a different mission for troops.

The vests are part of a traditional uniform worn during domestic-support operations which include presidential inaugurations, celebrations like the Fourth of July, responses to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington in 2020, Fox News reported.

The vest is not ballistic or tactical, but apparently largely ceremonial.

“It’s different from the camouflage vest, just like this mission is different from other missions we’ve done in the past,” Machona explained, noting that each vest includes the soldier’s last name, rank, and military service branch (the Guard has Army and Air Force branches) “plus the D.C. flag to show our pride in our city.”

Army and Air Force National Guard units are subject to the same uniform standards — contained in Army Regulation (AR) 670-1 — as regular and reserve Army and Air Force units. Generally, commanders can authorize some additional accessories and accoutrements.

Thousands — perhaps tens of thousands — have already arrived in the nation’s capital as a joint session of Congress meets to count electoral ballots. President Donald Trump addressed rally-goers at 11 a.m. on the Ellipse.

City Councilman Charles Allen advised people not to counter-protest the president’s supporters to avoid violent confrontations and criminal acts that occurred between rival factions after dark Dec. 12.

In reference to protests planned by those he falsely described as “white nationalist and militia groups,” Allen said “these are people who have already lost, desperately clinging to conspiracy theories, who will not be reasoned with. They are eager to do harm to others.”

“They will not overturn the results of our national election. They will not stop a peaceful transfer of power. They only seek conflict to elevate themselves. Do not give them what they seek,” Allen noted in a statement.

“Going downtown to counterprotest, during a pandemic, will do nothing to advance our values, and only complicate the District’s planned response to protect D.C. residents and institutions,” he added.

Tuesday night, several people were arrested on various charges including possession of weapons and ammunition, assaulting a police officer, possession of a stun gun, and simple assault.

Hundreds of people who support the president gathered in Freedom Plaza to denounce the Electoral College vote.

Video posted online shows a group of people, most not wearing masks and some carrying pro-Trump paraphernalia, cursing anarchist group Antifa while marching through streets. Several clashed with police officers who were blocking access to Black Lives Matter Plaza.

A group of GOP senators led by Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Josh Hawley (Missouri) plan to join more than 100 House Republicans in objecting to the electoral votes. The objection will force a joint session of Congress to adjourn to their individual chambers and hold two hours’ worth of debate before both are expected to vote to certify the electors for Biden.

President Trump has been urging Vice President Mike Pence, who is constitutionally empowered to count votes in the Senate, to reject those from states that sent competing slates of electors due to claims that their elections were unconstitutionally altered ahead of Nov. 3.

Jon Dougherty

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