WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is distorting how he responded to the chaos at the Capitol this week, falsely stating that he acted immediately to bring in the National Guard.
How his statement compares with the facts:
TRUMP: “I immediately deployed the National Guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders.” — video released Thursday night.
THE FACTS: That’s not at all what happened. While Trump was involved in discussions in the days prior to the Wednesday rioting about the National Guard response, he was not part of the decision-making that day. Defense officials have said they didn’t speak to Trump on Wednesday.
In addition, Trump wasn’t involved in the law enforcement decisions.
The Justice Department called the Capitol Police and offered FBI agents as the mob was descending, but the police turned down the offer. Justice called back a second time and help was accepted. Trump was not involved, according to two people familiar with the discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
National Guard troops had already been activated and deployed to checkpoints around the city that day, before the violence began. When the rioting started, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser requested more Guard help, on behalf of the Capitol Police. That request was made to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who then went to acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, who approved it.
The Pentagon said Miller approved the request without speaking with the White House because he had gotten direction from the president days earlier to do whatever he deemed necessary with the Guard.
The Guard response, however, was also not immediate.
It took more than two and a half hours for the Guard forces to report to the D.C. armory, get a briefing and their riot gear, and begin moving toward the Capitol to help the overrun law enforcement.
Army leaders say the delay in the movement of Guard troops to the Capitol was because the initial agreement largely limited those forces to checkpoints and Metro stations and stipulated they would not go to the Capitol. As a result, authorities had to get approval for the new mission, then call Guard members to the armory, brief them and get them their riot gear, and then send them to the Capitol.
EDITOR’S NOTE — A look at the veracity of claims by political figures.
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