The issue of whether former President Donald Trump ordered 10,000 National Guard troops ahead of the Jan. 6 protest at the U.S. Capitol reared its head again this week when Trump released a statement slamming Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s politically motivated House select committee investigating the incident.
“The Unselect Committee of Political Thugs has not devoted one hour to the massive Election Fraud and Irregularities that took place in the 2020 Presidential Election, the reason that hundreds of thousands of people went to Washington on January 6th. When will they start?” the former president said in a statement released by his Save America PAC.
“The Unselects also refuse to look at why Crazy Nancy Pelosi and the Mayor of D.C. turned down from 10-20,000 troops. Why is this, I wonder?” Trump added.
This prompted a whole new wave of debunking from the Trump-loathing media, but whether he did or not appears to be a matter of semantics.
The fact checkers state that the former president never “ordered” the deployment of the National Guard and that he never “officially authorized” the use of troops at the time. The one thing we know to be true is that the one-sided select committee is only producing evidence that it believes will condemn Trump.
PolitiFact noted in June that Vanity Fair reported about an “offhand remark” from Trump about 10,000 troops being needed in anticipation of a massive crowd.
Here’s more from Vanity Fair about a conversation Trump had with then-acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and his chief of staff Kash Patel:
“The president, Miller recalled, asked how many troops the Pentagon planned to turn out the following day. “We’re like, ‘We’re going to provide any National Guard support that the District requests,’” Miller responded. “And (Trump) goes, ‘You’re going to need 10,000 people.’ No, I’m not talking bullshit. He said that. And we’re like, ‘Maybe. But you know, someone’s going to have to ask for it.’” At that point Miller remembered the president telling him, “‘You do what you need to do. You do what you need to do.’ He said, ‘You’re going to need 10,000.’ That’s what he said. Swear to God.”
Vanity Fair further noted that Miller took the comment from Trump as the president being “hyperbolic,” and PolitiFact declared, “There’s no evidence the remark was handled as an official authorization.”
And this is where the semantics come into play. On July 26th, the Jan. 6 Committee released a clip of a video deposition of Miller saying there was no order given to have troops ready — drilling down to Jan. 6 specifically.
“I was never given any direction or order or knew of any plans of that nature,” Miller said, although he did admit that there was “contingency planning” for “activating more folks.”
The committee shared that footage on Twitter, along with this analysis: “To remove any doubt: Not only did Donald Trump fail to contact his Secretary of Defense on January 6th (as shown in our hearing), Trump also failed to give any order prior to January 6 to deploy the military to protect the Capitol.”
To remove any doubt: Not only did Donald Trump fail to contact his Secretary of Defense on January 6th (as shown in our hearing), Trump also failed to give any order prior to January 6 to deploy the military to protect the Capitol.
Here is Secretary Miller’s testimony— pic.twitter.com/joucnUHvBB
— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) July 26, 2022
Trump had a different take, as seen in a March 2021 interview he did with Fox News.
“I definitely gave the number of 10,000 National Guardsmen and [said] I think you should have 10,000 of the National Guard ready,” he said. “They took that number. From what I understand, they gave it to the people at the Capitol, which is controlled by [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi. And I heard they rejected it because they didn’t think it would look good.”
Miller also told lawmakers that D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser requested 340 members of the D.C. National Guard for traffic and crowd control and that was approved, but he said the Defense Department “received no further request for different or additional support until the Capitol was breached,” according to PolitiFact.
The Federalist’s Tristan Justice detailed more on the rejection of the National Guard on Tuesday, with supporting links:
“Except the president did issue authorization for D.C. leaders to call up the National Guard for pre-emptive reinforcements days before the Capitol riot. While Mayor Muriel Bowser took limited advantage of the extra troops, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s sergeant at arms rejected or stonewalled the offer six times, according to former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund. Pelosi’s office was reportedly concerned the guard’s deployment was bad “optics” after having spent the prior summer decrying the use of federal law enforcement to put down left-wing insurrections.”
The piece was a focus on U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s role, with Justice suggesting the Wyoming Republican “coordinated a campaign to prevent deployment.”
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