On January 6th, much of the nation looked on in shock as a mob of angry Trump supporters overwhelmed law enforcement and laid siege to the US Capitol, all during the certification of the electoral college’s results that affirmed Joe Biden’s 2020 win.
And while the actions themselves were certainly wild enough to maintain our attention, as the dust settled, we began a terrifying new journey of realization: The Capitol was not even close to adequately defended. Now, even three weeks after the fact, the full picture of why is still coming into focus.
The commander of the District of Columbia National Guard said he was unable to immediately send troops to aid law enforcement officials on Jan. 6 as the U.S. Capitol was under siege because his authority to do so without additional sign-off was taken away by the Pentagon.
“All military commanders normally have immediate response authority to protect property, life, and in my case, federal functions — federal property and life,” Maj. Gen. William Walker said in an interview with the Washington Post. “But in this instance, I did not have that authority.”take our poll - story continues below
Instead, when he received the initial call from the Capitol Police chief warning that an insurrection was about to take place, Walker had to wait for the all-clear from then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and then-acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller before ordering troops to the Capitol building to aid local law enforcement who were overwhelmed by a mob of Trump supporters storming the building.
The Guard could have very easily assisted, said the Major General.
Walker told the outlet that had he not been required to go through an additional round of permissions, members of the National Guard could have been on the scene “With all deliberate speed — I mean, they’re right down the street.”
Several people died during and in direct response to the insurrection at the Capitol, including one Capitol Police officer who could bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher.
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