Donald Trump said Sunday he requested 10,000 National Guard troops deployed to Washington, D.C. before January 6 after realizing his rally would be larger than anticipated – but says the request was rejected by congressional leaders.
In his latest defense, the former president told Fox News late Sunday evening that he was not actually watching the events unfold in real-time and claimed he reacted immediately when he was alerted to the ongoing attack on the Capitol.
His assertion comes after his anticipated return to the political scene on Sunday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he delivered a 90-minute keynote address to a crowd of adoring supporters.
Trump insisted he wanted the National Guard on standby to deploy to the nation’s capital, and told Fox’s ‘The Next Revolution’ host Steve Hilton that he was under the impression the message was conveyed to congressional leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The former president said his understanding is that the request for troops was rejected because leaders in Congress didn’t like the optics of 10,000 troops at the Capitol.
‘So, you know, that was a big mistake,’ he said.
Donald Trump told Fox on Sunday that he requested 10,000 National Guard troops be brought in before his January 6 rally – but it was rejected because congressional leaders didn’t like the ‘optics’ of troops at the Capitol
After the Capitol riot, approximately 26,000 National Guard troops were deployed to Washington, D.C. from all over the country. To this day, a few thousands remain in the city
Last month, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Fox host Maria Bartiromo that Trump issued a ‘direct order’ to have up to 10,000 troops ready before his rally on January 6.
After the siege of the Capitol by thousands of pro-Trump rioters on the day Congress moved to certify the election for Joe Biden, Washington finally called in the National Guard. There is still confusion on the timeline and why they weren’t deployed sooner.
In the days following the riot, the city filled up with approximately 26,000 National Guardsmen and women from all over the country. All remained in Washington until January 20, when Biden was inaugurated.
While thousands were pulled from Washington and went back to their home states after inauguration, a few thousand remained in D.C. as leaders warned of lingering threats in the midst of the impeachment trial against Donald Trump.
As it stands, around 5,000 National Guard troops remain in D.C. – and are expected to maintain a presence until mid-March. There is also still a security fence with razor wire atop surrounding the entire Capitol Hill complex.
Trump told Hilton that he ‘hated’ to see the riot unfold, but he compared it to the massive riots, including Black Lives Matter demonstrations, in cities like Portland and Seattle.
‘I hate to see any of that, but it is a double standard,’ he said.
Mystery still surrounds the January 6 Capitol attack, including why National Guard were not deployed earlier to the scene as the riot unfolded.
Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving could not agree on when the request for National Guard assistance was sent out.
Sund told a bipartisan Senate panel last week that he submitted the request at 1:09 p.m. on January 6. Irving, on the other hands, claims he didn’t receive the request until after 2:00 p.m. that day.
The ex-police chief said he spoke days before the riot with Irving and then-Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger about the request for National Guard. Sunday claims that Irving admitted he was concerned with the ‘optics’ of having thousands of troops descend on the Capitol.
But Irving said this account is ‘categorically false.’
Trump has not said much about the January 6 riot, and mostly steered clear of the subject during his grand return to the limelight on Sunday.
The former president’s speech was the first time he addressed his supports since his farewell address in front of Air Force One on January 20.
He used his remarks to go after Republicans who rebuked him, attack Joe Biden’s policies, promise not to form his own political party and tease a 2024 run for the White House.