Months after the January riot at the Capitol, Republican lawmakers are demanding to know why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) supports continued deployment of thousands of National Guard troops in Washington, D.C.
The urgency of that question was heightened last week after a New York National Guard member was found dead in his Washington, D.C. hotel room. Over the weekend, the Guard member was identified as Spc. Justin Grennell, who was off-duty at the time of his death, but was in the nation’s capital as part of the large contingent of troops still stationed there, the Washington Examiner reported.
The 26-year-old guardsman was on deployment in Washington after having already served on deployment as part of New York’s COVID-19 response. His exemplary service earned him several medals and by all accounts, his future was bright.
Maj. Gen. Ray Shields, the adjutant general of New York, released a statement on the tragic news of Grennell’s death.
“All of us in the New York National Guard are deeply saddened by the death of this young soldier. When our State and Nation called, he stepped forward and enlisted. Following the attack on our nation’s Capital on January 6th he selflessly deployed to Washington, DC. Our thoughts are with his family in this most trying time,” Shields wrote in a press release.
The soldier who died while serving on the D.C. Capitol mission was SPC Justin Grennell. He was found unresponsive in his hotel, no foul play suspected. He served in A Troop, 2/101st Cavalry – New York National Guad pic.twitter.com/m2JzBdYuc9
— Steve Beynon (@StevenBeynon) March 13, 2021
Grennell was discovered by his roommate, who performed CPR and called 911 in an attempt to save the young man’s life. He was part of a 540-troop deployment out of New York to provide security in Washington, D.C., though no real threats ever materialized after the events of Jan. 6.
Republicans demand answers
According to Fox News, a group of 17 Republican lawmakers penned a joint letter to Pelosi demanding to know why National Guard troops are still deployed in the nation’s capital and secondly, why a prison-style fence is erected around the Capitol building, given that no violence has erupted since early January.
Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) spearheaded the letter, in which he also asked the Democratic leader when she believed normalcy would finally return to D.C. He also suggested that the fencing and the National Guard presence is nothing more than a political show.
Pelosi’s spokesperson, Drew Hammill, issued a scathing response to the Republican lawmakers, writing that Pelosi’s office doesn’t “need any lectures on security from House Republicans who fanned the flames of these insurrectionists and overwhelmingly voted to overturn the election result.”
A two-month extension of the deployment of around 2,000 National Guard troops to remain in the city is expected to be approved by the Pentagon in the near future, raising even more questions about why that extension would be approved and the cost to American taxpayers.
Any reasonable person can plainly deduce that keeping National Guard troops on deployment and razor wire fencing around the Capitol is nothing more than an expensive prop for Democrats to scare Americans with their “domestic terrorism” narrative.