In the weeks since a riot on Capitol Hill, thousands of U.S. National Guard troops have remained in D.C., sparking criticism among many Republican lawmakers who believe their presence is unnecessary and that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has offered insufficient justification for their continued deployment.
Now, one National Guard Association leader is reportedly calling for the troops to be removed, the Washington Examiner reported.
“Completely inappropriate at best”
Leading the effort is Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, who chairs the National Guard Association and serves as the Arizona adjunct general.
In a recent statement to the Examiner, he said the “enduring requirement of having them around the city” is “completely inappropriate at best, illegal at worst.”
McGuire insisted that all Americans “should be concerned that an unelected Cabinet secretary can move forces into the city,” making the argument that the National Guard is not designed to perform the tasks they are now being asked to do.
“The National Guard specifically is the last line of defense for direct policing action only in the emergent period when it is life, limb, protection of property,” he said.
The “unelected Cabinet secretary” he referenced is Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who recently approved an extension that will keep troops in the nation’s capital until May 23, NBC News reported.
“We have received zero information”
Although National Guard troops were called from states across the nation, McGuire is the only adjunct general who has refused — since Jan. 9 — to allow his state to send troops to D.C.
He is not alone in continuing to express concerns about the supposed mission the guardsmen are undertaking, however. At first, the troops were deployed in response to potential threats, particularly during the inauguration — but those threats have not materialized.
Most recently, proponents have suggested that the National Guard is needed to assist undermanned Capitol Police, an agency currently attempting to fill more than 200 vacancies.
National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Daniel Hokanson has also pushed back against Austin’s extension, arguing that the troops are needed in their home states. Outside of the National Guard, there has been increasing support for the troops to be removed.
As Rep. Lisa McClain (R-MI) explained after thousands of troops were ordered to remain in D.C. last month: “Myself and several of my colleagues have asked Nancy Pelosi for a briefing as to why do we need these troops here, and we have received zero information, zero.”