Less than a week before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration in Washington, D.C., the Pentagon is flooding the streets of the U.S. Capitol with troops—-so many it looks like a military encampment.
National Guard forces from states outside Washington are also coming in to help. The show of force is a message to anyone thinking of disrupting Biden’s inauguration, or worse.
“I think it’s such a shame, and hopefully at some point we will get our country back,” D.C. resident Jenny Allison said.
The riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 8 triggered a call from Capitol police to the Pentagon for help. Each day more high fences are going up -- and troops are stationed behind them.
There were always plans for the D.C. guard to be deployed in Washington for the inauguration of Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, but the Capitol riots and the threat of more violence from right wing extremists had many more troops arriving.
Some are even sleeping on the Capitol building floor.
“I walked up the street from the Capitol back from voting and every Nation Guardsman and women that I walked past I thanked,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said. “Frankly, I think they should have been there in place knowing what we knew was coming, and that the FBI knew was coming in advance of last Wednesday, and I am just grateful for their protection.”
National security analyst G. Alexander Crowther is a retired Army Colonel. He says the number of troops stationed at the Capitol are more than adequate to handle any trouble.
“The Joint Task force national Capitol region is working this full time you can bet,” the FIU professor said.
He says a decision was made last week not to send such a show of force in prior to the Wednesday Trump rally.
“I’m not really concerned about Washington D.C. because Washington D.C. has so many assets. They actually chose not to deploy all these assets because last summer you will remember the security services were accused of overreacting to the demonstrations, so they literally chose to dial it down.”
There are currently about 7,250 troops from the National Guard from the District of Columbia and several others states, but this number will continue to grow. By inauguration day, about 20,000 National Guard troops will be in D.C.—-far more military forces in the District of Columbia than in Afghanistan.