Pro-Trump demonstrations are in Washington this week to protest Georgia’s run-off election and the congressional meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden‘s victory over President Donald Trump. Protests are planned at the Washington Monument, Freedom Plaza and the Capitol.
On January 4, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller approved a request from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to deploy the D.C. National Guard to support local authorities during the demonstrations.
This anticipatory move comes after protests in November and December led to “a large influx of participants, violence and criminal activity,” the mayor said in her request to Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard (DCNG).
“No DCNG personnel shall be armed during this mission, and at no time, will DCNG personnel or assets be engaged in domestic surveillance, searches, or seizures of US persons,” Bowser, a Democrat, wrote in the letter.
Following the request for approval, newly sworn-in Republican Representative Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) questioned the mayor’s decision.
In a Tweet Monday, Boebert claimed that the National Guard was not deployed during the summer protests.
“The Mayor of DC, who was oddly granted floor privileges in the new Rules Package, has called in the National Guard for the election integrity rally in DC tomorrow and Wednesday.
“Where was the National Guard when ANTIFA and BLM terrorized the streets all summer?”
The Mayor of DC, who was oddly granted floor privileges in the new Rules Package, has called in the National Guard for the election integrity rally in DC tomorrow and Wednesday.
Where was the National Guard when ANTIFA and BLM terrorized the streets all summer?
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) January 4, 2021
This week, thousands have descended on Washington to protest Congress‘ official count of the Electoral College votes. The participants in these demonstrations, Trump supporters opposing Biden’s victory, differ from those during the summer who were protesting police brutality and a lack of criminal justice for Black Americans.
Some of the speakers this week include conservative radio host Alex Jones, former National Security Adviser and recently pardoned Michael Flynn, and Overstock.com President Patrick Byrne.
Other groups in attendance include The Proud Boys and Three Percenters, a far-right militia group. D.C police already have made several arrests involving weapons-related charges and assaulting a police officer.
Thousands of Trump supporters gathered in D.C. in November and December to protest the presidential election results. The demonstrations turned violent and about a dozen people were arrested and four people were stabbed. In anticipation for this week, Bowser mobilized the National Guard and increased police presence.
The protests last summer began in Minneapolis after the killing of George Floyd in May. From there, Black Lives Matter demonstrations protesting police brutality spread across the country. The mostly peaceful demonstrations attracted thousands and, in some cases, also attracted rioters. This led to a call for more law enforcement. Local governors called upon their state’s division of the National Guard to control crowds during the civil unrest.
I have just given an order for our National Guard to start the process of withdrawing from Washington, D.C., now that everything is under perfect control. They will be going home, but can quickly return, if needed. Far fewer protesters showed up last night than anticipated!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2020
According to CNN and ABC News, as of June 2020, almost half of the U.S. had National Guard presence during protests. A CNN graphic showed that 23 states and the District of Columbia employed the National Guard. Those states are: Arizona, Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
More than 17,000 members of the National Guard were deployed to support local law enforcement. That is about the same number of active-duty troops deployed in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
The Trump administration also sent unidentified federal law-enforcement officers, many from the Department of Homeland Security to Portland, Oregon, resulting in chaos and violent stand-offs during previously nonviolent protests.
The situation in Washington was unique. President Trump ordered thousands of troops to manage the peaceful protests but ordered them to withdraw a week later after warning from three former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and criticism for militarizing the response to demonstrators.
It is clear that the National Guard was deployed in Washington and other cities last summer during the Black Lives Matter protests. The only difference here is that Trump called upon the DCNG and the National Guard from other states to control crowds on Black Lives Matter protesters, while Bowser requested the DCNG in advance of Pro-Trump protests this week.
Newsweek reached out to Boebert and Bowser for comment.
Fact Check: Was National Guard Called For Trump Protests But Not Others, as Boebert Says? The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Newsweek.