More than 1,000 Columbia District National Guard troops were ordered to report to their armory after pro-Trump protesters broke police barriers and windows swarming the building as Senators met to confirm the 2020 election.
At least one person was shot dead during the hand-to-hand combat, although it is not clear who pulled the trigger during the chaotic scene. Some in the crowd shouted “traitors” when officials tried to hold them back.
In the chamber of the house, the legislature described a harrowing scene.
While they stayed downstairs, they were told to have gas masks ready – and to remove the lapel pins they were wearing to identify them as elected representatives.
The police pulled guns and furniture barricaded the door.
Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller approved the activation request, a defense official told the Military Times. At that time, none of them had been instructed to report to the Capitol.
“Chairman Milley and I have just spoken separately with Vice President and Spokesman Pelosi, Chairman McConnell, Senator Schumer and Representative Hoyer about the situation in the US Capitol,” Miller said in a statement. “We have fully activated the DC National Guard to assist federal and local law enforcement as they work to address the situation peacefully. We are ready to provide additional assistance if needed and appropriate as requested by local authorities. Our people are sworn to defend the Constitution and our democratic governance, and they will act accordingly. “
The DCNG “has been mobilized to support federal law enforcement in the district,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement. “Acting Secretary Miller has contacted the Congress management, and [Army] secretary [Ryan] McCarthy worked with the DC government. The Ministry of Justice directs the law enforcement response. “
D.C. Guardsmen do not draw weapons, a local source asking not to be named told the Military Times. They bring shields, helmets and other personal protective equipment, but no ballistic plates for their vests.
In response to the siege, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that he would also activate that state’s National Guard forces to respond.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan also tweeted that he had sent 200 state troops and 500 guardsmen to respond.
“For operational security reasons, we will not publish details of the number of employees, locations or schedules,” Alfred Puryear, spokesman for the Virginia Guard, told the Military Times.
More than 300 DC troops had been activated pending demonstrations on Tuesday and Wednesday, but most of them blocked traffic in downtown DC.
Trump has not invoked the Insurrection Act or suggested drafting troops on active duty. This was a major debate in the White House this summer as protests in downtown Washington, DC became destructive.
After appearing at a demonstration Wednesday morning and encouraging protesters to march towards the Capitol, he tweeted that the local police were “really on our country’s side.”
In a televised address on Wednesday afternoon, President-elect Joe Biden called out the demonstrators and called the attack “godly”.
“Endangering the safety of properly elected officials,” he said. “It’s not a protest. It’s a riot.”
This story includes information from the Associated Press. This is a developing story. Stay with Military Times for updates.