President Donald Trump has once again drawn the attention of a number of “fact-checkers” for a claim about the Capitol riots.
This time, it’s for his recent confirmation that he requested 10,000 National Guard troops ahead of the Capitol building attack, but Speaker Pelosi had shut the bigger troop presence down.
It all stems back to a Vanity Fair report about a January 5th meeting where President Trump is cited as having said that the Capitol needed at least 10,000 troops for stronger security:
On the evening of January 5—the night before a white supremacist mob stormed Capitol Hill in a siege that would leave five dead—the acting secretary of defense, Christopher Miller, was at the White House with his chief of staff, Kash Patel. They were meeting with President Trump on “an Iran issue,” Miller told me. But then the conversation switched gears. The president, Miller recalled, asked how many troops the Pentagon planned to turn out the following day. “We’re like, ‘We’re going to provide any National Guard support that the District requests,’” Miller responded. “And [Trump] goes, ‘You’re going to need 10,000 people.’ No, I’m not talking bullshit. He said that. And we’re like, ‘Maybe. But you know, someone’s going to have to ask for it.’” At that point Miller remembered the president telling him, “‘You do what you need to do. You do what you need to do.’ He said, ‘You’re going to need 10,000.’ That’s what he said. Swear to God.”
The Pentagon placed limits on the National Guard’s ability to mobilize and prepare for the riots, the Washington Post earlier reported. Fox News recently covered President Trump’s confirmation of the report.
“Former President Trump told Fox News late Sunday that he expressed concern over the crowd size near the Capitol days before last month’s deadly riots and personally requested 10,000 National Guard troops be deployed in response,” Fox News reported.
“Trump told ‘The Next Revolution With Steve Hilton’ that his team alerted the Department of Defense days before the rally that crowds might be larger than anticipated and 10,000 national guardsmen should be ready to deploy,” the report continued. “He said that — from what he understands — the warning was passed along to leaders at the Capitol, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — and he heard that the request was rejected because these leaders did not like the optics of 10,000 troops at the Capitol.”
The Washington Post on Tuesday, while claiming to have debunked the claim, actually corroborates it with new information. The WaPo fact-checker Glenn Kessler tucks this nugget within a story headlined “Trump falsely claims he ‘requested’ 10,000 troops rejected by Pelosi.”
“Miller and other senior Pentagon officials never relayed the 10,000 figure to anyone outside the Defense Department, according to a former U.S. official who was familiar with the matter,” the WaPo report said.
“They didn’t act on it because based on discussions with federal and local law enforcement leadership, they didn’t think a force of that size would be necessary,” the former official said. There you have it. Nobody at the Pentagon acted on it because “they didn’t think a force of that size would be necessary.”
Now, bear in mind that Speaker Pelosi didn’t shut down “Trump’s order” for 10,000 troops, because the Pentagon did not act on the information the president gave them about the dangerous lack of security. Instead of taking Donald Trump’s warning seriously, the Department of Defense only noted “the possible activation of 340 National Guard troops to assist the District government with traffic control.”
Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund told the Congress six times there was a high risk of rioting days before the building assault. After Speaker Pelosi forced Sund to resign following the riot, he wrote her a letter explaining exactly what went wrong. The House and Sergeant at Arms were also forced to resign.
“Sund told the Post that House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving was concerned with the ‘optics’ of declaring an emergency ahead of the protests and rejected a National Guard presence,” NPR reported. “He says Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger recommended that he informally request the Guard to be ready in case it was needed to maintain security.”
His requests for additional National Guard troops would be turned down.
“Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said he requested that the National Guard be placed on standby in the days before the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, but House and Senate security officials turned him down,” the USA Today reported.
Speaker Pelosi is thus accused of having weakened security before and during the Capitol riots due to “optics.” A report from the Daily Caller citing multiple anonymous sources say the former House Sergeant at Arms is “covering for her.”
The Daily Caller reported on the problematic timeline of Speaker Pelosi’s authorization of more National Guard troops. The request was granted after former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund had previously asked the Congress six times for a stronger security presence, but he was turned down every time until it was too late.
The New York Times previously reported that the Speaker’s office confirmed that the National Guard was approved around 1:43 pm. Sund said he sent a request for help from the National Guard to Irving around 1:09 p.m, according to CNN. Irving said he was contacted about the matter after 2:00 pm, Axios reported. Sources questioned how Irving got the request after 2 pm but Pelosi approved the request at 1:43 pm.
“If you believe Irving’s timeline that he testified under oath to, how could he ask for permission from the Speaker 20 minutes before he got the request?” one of the sources told the Daily Caller. The National Pulse lays out what happened, throwing the 1:43 pm time for Pelosi’s ‘authorization’ into major question.
At 1:50pm the Capitol itself was breached. Still before most Trump speech attendees could have arrived.
What happened after this point was a back and forth over hours between D.C. officials, Army officials, and Capitol police.
Eventually – at past 5pm – the National Guard arrived.
It’s all clear now: President Trump had indeed requested 10,000 more National Guard troops, but the Pentagon only authorized a ‘stand by’ force of a small fraction of that size. Speaker Pelosi had delayed authorization of a larger National Guard force, despite frequent warnings about the danger, until it was too late. Why?
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.