The Pentagon said Wednesday that about 1,100 D.C. National Guard members are being mobilized to help support law enforcement as violent supporters of President Donald Trump breached the U.S. Capitol.
Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said Wednesday afternoon that defense leaders have been in contact with the city and congressional leadership.
A defense official said all 1,100 of the D.C. Guard were being activated and sent to the city’s armory. The Guard forces will be used at checkpoints and for other similar duties and could also help in the enforcement of the 6 p.m. curfew being implemented tonight in the city.
The officials said the D.C. request for National Guard was not rejected earlier in the day.
Instead, according to officials, the Guard members have a very specific mission that does not include putting military in a law enforcement role at the Capitol. As a result, the Guard must be used to backfill law enforcement outside the Capitol complex, freeing up more law enforcement to respond to the Capitol.
Hoffman said the law enforcement response to the violence will be led by the Justice Department.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said earlier Wednesday that he is sending more National Guard members to protests in Washington, D.C., as well as 200 Virginia State Troopers.
Trump had urged his supporters to come to Washington to protest Congress’ formal approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s win. Several Republican lawmakers backed his calls, despite there being no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing in the election.
Press Secretary Kaleigh McEnany tweeted just after 3:30 p.m. EST that Trump had ordered the National Guard to join other protective services.