The National Guard is being dispatched to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday alongside numerous federal security agencies after a pro-Trump insurrection in Washington, D.C. managed to overrun the building and halt the Electoral College vote count.
The deployment of the National Guard comes as chaotic and violent scenes of looting in the nation’s capital and legislative chambers flooded news outlets and social media. In some of the scenes, armed pro-Trump militants including QAnon, the Proud Boys, and far-right militias could be seen looting the offices of elected lawmakers.
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office urgently requested that the National Guard intervene to suppress the uprising at the Capitol, reports CNBC.
The U.S. Army has activated the entire D.C. National Guard – comprised of 1,100 troops – who are en route to the D.C. Armory, where they will then be deployed across the Capitol and other points across Washington.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has also confirmed that the National Guard was en route along with various federal agencies.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam also announced that he has orderd that the state National Guard and 200 Virginia state troopers be sent to the Capitol to suppress the insurrection. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has also said that he instructed his state’s National Guard to send a force to the Capitol.
Pentagon officials had been hesitant about deploying uniformed National Guard units to the Capitol in hopes to avoid scenes of the military battling election protesters. However, the inability of Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police to control the rioters prompted them to deploy troops.
On Wednesday afternoon, mobs of protesters wearing battle dress uniform and red “Make America Great Again” hats could be seen roaming through the halls of the House and Senate, snapping self-incriminating selfies and forcefully breaking into the offices of lawmakers. One man was reportedly smoking cannabis in one office room, while other man could be seen stealing framed photographs from officials’ offices. One man in a leather jacket tore apart a scroll with Chinese characters, reports New York Times.
The riotous crowd was able to successfully halt Congress’s counting of the electoral votes to officially confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory as police hastily evacuated lawmakers from the building.
The unprecedented invasion of the legislative chambers forced lawmakers, including some who had to wear gas masks to traverse thick clouds of tear gas, to flee to secure locations. House staffers were also forced to shelter-in-place.
An improvised explosive device was also reportedly found at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee in Washington, while the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee nearby was evacuated after a suspicious package was discovered there on Wednesday.
President Trump, facing widespread bipartisan criticism for egging on the violent protests, has called on protesters to “stand down” and “remain peaceful” as the situation continues to spin out of control.
“I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful,” Trump said in a tweet. “No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order — respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
In a separate video, Donald Trump called on protests to go home. However, he also repeated his false claims that the election was “stolen” from him.
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