D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton claimed on Monday that Congress is “afraid of its shadow” following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and she roundly criticized the suggestion of permanent fencing or a military presence on the Hill.
Norton is a Democrat and a non-voting congressional delegate. She gave an interview to WMAL’s “Mornings on the Mall” and pointed out that the predicted attack on Congress on March 4 by QAnon never materialized. The House of Representatives canceled all scheduled votes and left early on March 3, following the Capitol Police stating that they had intelligence suggesting militia violence at the Capitol on March 4. The Senate, however, remained in session and no National Guardsmen or Capitol Police interacted with protesters or rioters.
“As you may have heard on March the 4th, the House left early because of a threat for March 4. You will note that nothing happened on March 4. Now we have a Congress afraid of its shadow,” Norton bluntly stated.
“Fortunately, we’re going to have recommendations as you indicated as to how to guard the Capitol,” Norton added. “I’m almost certain that will involve no permanent fencing around the Capitol as the acting police chief had recommended. She had recommended that there be permanent fencing.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s strongman, retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, seems to disagree with Norton. He has issued a report that suggests “a mobile fencing option that is easily erected and deconstructed and an integrated, retractable fencing system in the long term to secure both the Capitol and office buildings.” Norton allegedly believes that is overkill.
Honoré’s report states that the “solution could enable an open campus while giving security forces better options to protect the complex and its members should a threat develop.”
In her interview, Norton seemed to suggest that Congress is overreacting in regards to a perceived threat. She believes that we can keep Congress safe without militarizing Capitol Hill.
— Eleanor #DCStatehood Holmes Norton (@EleanorNorton) March 8, 2021
“There are all kinds of state-of-the-art ways to protect the Capitol,” she posited. “The Capitol Police didn’t do their job on January the 6th. On Jan. 6 there was plenty of notice from Trump that people would be coming to the Hill. Instead of calling on the dozen or so federal police forces available to the Capitol Police, the Capitol was almost unguarded.”
Norton went on to say: “I don’t think there is the kind of threat that could keep us away from the Capitol, razor wire on the Capitol or fencing on the Capitol… That’s why Congress has got to step in itself so that… we don’t militarize our Capitol.”
Norton has been very vocal against unnecessary security measures at the Capitol. She has sponsored a bipartisan bill with Republican North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd and Democratic New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman that would prohibit federal funding for a permanent fence surrounding the Capitol.
The Democrat congresswoman also repeated what many Republicans have pointed out… we are no longer building a wall on the border, so why is D.C. surrounding itself with a fence?
“If the United States of America has to have troops to defend its Capitol then how can it defend its border?” Norton astutely asked. “The president is already pulling, stopping the fencing on the border and yet we’re trying to fence in our Capitol. That can’t be, and I believe that when this announcement is made we will see that they do not dare call for permanent fencing.”
Idling not only risks the health of the drivers and troops, it also risks the health of my constituents in the neighborhoods surrounding the site.
See my press release for details: https://t.co/yKVTJP1PwN
— Eleanor #DCStatehood Holmes Norton (@EleanorNorton) March 3, 2021
However, Norton does not oppose having the National Guard in D.C. if there is credible intelligence that there is a threat. She said it is “not something I would object to at least at the moment” because “what it amounts to is a gradual pulling back” of the militarization already in place on Capitol Hill. But she did point out that they should not be stationed on the grounds of the Capitol.
Republicans are bristling at the accusations by Honoré that he has made concerning the Capitol Police, Trump supporters, and Republicans in general.
“General Honoré’s notorious partisan bias calls into question the rationality of appointing him to lead such an important security review,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) stated on Sunday. “It also raises the unacceptable possibility that Speaker Pelosi desired a certain result: turning the Capitol into a fortress.”
General Honore's notorious partisan bias calls into question the rationality of appointing him to lead such an important security review.
It also raises the unacceptable possibility that Speaker Pelosi desired a certain result: turning the Capitol into a fortress.
My statement: pic.twitter.com/Lx4dPuhUwv
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) March 7, 2021
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