With just one week remaining until the inauguration of Joe Biden, the mood in the nation’s capital is tense.
An angry mob breached the halls of Congress on January 6th, hoping to delay the certification of the electoral college’s results – results that would affirm Biden’s win with finality. And these rioters succeeded, at least for several hours, by sauntering about the US Capitol, calling for the lynching of the Vice President and appearing to be prepared to take hostages as well.
Eventually, late in the night, Congress would return to finish the job, but rattled and weary from the day’s events.
Now, as the FBI warns that more violence could be forthcoming, the National Guard is stationed within the Capitol, and they’ve been authorized to carry lethal force.
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National Guard members supporting US Capitol security in Washington, DC, ahead of Inauguration Day will be armed, the Department of Defense announced Tuesday.
The decision comes as law enforcement in the nation’s capital and around the country brace for more extremist violence after the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol last week.
The first wave of National Guard troops who arrived at the Capitol were unarmed, and the Army has been reviewing whether National Guardsmen should be armed for the inauguration with lethal or nonlethal weapons.
Capt. Chelsi Johnson, spokesperson for the DC National Guard, said in a statement to CNN that the move was requested by federal authorities and authorized by Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy.
“National Guard members are postured to meet the requirements of the supported civil authorities, up to and including protective equipment and being armed if necessary,” Johnson said.
Photos of the guard troops occupy the Capitol were soon circulating on social media.
I spotted the National Guard sleeping in the hallways of the Capitol as I walked in this morning. pic.twitter.com/PzVpQCo5yU
— Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) January 13, 2021
Well this is something I thought I’d never see. National Guard members getting rest in the Capitol, guns by their sides, under the busts of Lincoln and Washington. pic.twitter.com/CVDshN76eY
— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) January 13, 2021
This is our National Guard, sleeping in the halls of the Capitol today, as captured by my colleague @DaniellaMicaela. And unlike House members who choose to stay in their offices to either save money or make some kind of a point, they have no House gym or shower to use. pic.twitter.com/4wh9JhxkWO
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) January 13, 2021
The Joint Chiefs of Staff have also issued a stern statement, reiterating that the military is sworn to adhere to the Constitution, and that Joe Biden will be inaugurated on January 20th.
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