The January 6th Capitol riot left officials in Washington wary of miscalculating any security risks and in fear of being unprepared for any potential future attacks on the government. Many faced criticism for being so underprepared despite FBI warnings based on internet chatter from Donald Trump supporters. But they don’t intend to make that mistake again.
In response to local and federal agencies warning of a growing truck convoy aimed at disrupting President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address to Congress on March 1st, the Department of Defense has approved the deployment of about 700 unarmed D.C. National Guard troops ahead of potential protests. The National Guard members will help with “traffic control”, the Pentagon said. But officials also say they hope the troop presence will be a deterrent to anyone intending to repeat the events of January 6th.
In addition to 400 D.C. National Guard troops, the deployment includes 100 troops from Vermont, 100 from New Jersey, and 80 from West Virginia, as well as 50 “large tactical vehicles,” the National Guard Bureau said. The demonstration is inspired by Canadian convoys that blocked U.S. border crossings to protest mask and vaccine mandates. An organizer of one convoy told a local Fox affiliate he plans to drive from Pennsylvania to the Capitol Beltway on Wednesday to choke off D.C. traffic like a “giant boa constrictor.”
— Gabe Sanchez (@iamgabesanchez) February 23, 2022
“Our D.C. Police and Capitol Police partners have asked for our help in ensuring people can demonstrate peacefully and safely, and we stand ready to assist,” said Maj. Gen. Sherrie McCandless, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, in a statement on Wednesday.
TRUCK CONVOY: Hundreds of unarmed National Guard troops are headed to D.C. ahead of protests against COVID vaccines and mask mandates. pic.twitter.com/gb25iRLfUu
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) February 23, 2022
The deployment will last from February 26th to March 7th. Anyone traveling to DC specifically to block the President from making his speech will find themselves disappointed by the effort, as a temporary inner-perimeter fence has been erected to ensure additional security for all invited members of Congress. Asked about the fence during a press conference on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it is “not my call” and that she “feels confident” about security.
NOW – Capitol fence goes up ahead of Biden’s State of the Union.pic.twitter.com/X6zTmeu9i5
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) February 22, 2022