DONALD Trump reportedly resisted deploying the National Guard to Capitol Hill, leaving Mike Pence to give the order, unnamed sources told CNN and the New York Times.
The revelation raises questions about who was acting as commander in chief on one of America's darkest days, which saw the country's legislature under siege for the first time since the British attacked and burned the building in 1814.
In a statement, Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller said that he and Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other federal officials to activate the National Guard.
"Chairman Milley and I just spoke separately with the Vice President and with Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Senator Schumer and Representative Hoyer about the situation at the U.S. Capitol. We have fully activated the D.C. National Guard to assist federal and local law enforcement as they work to peacefully address the situation," he said in a statement.
"We are prepared to provide additional support as necessary and appropriate as requested by local authorities. Our people are sworn to defend the constitution and our democratic form of government and they will act accordingly."
The National Guard was reportedly not fully activated until hours after a violent mob descended on the capitol and stormed the building.
All 1,100 members of the Guard group were ultimately deployed to DC in response to the riots, which has so far left at least four people dead.
Pence’s press secretary Devin O’Malley said on Twitter the vice president was in “regular contact” with the Department of Justice and the U.S. Capitol Police, though he did not elaborate on Pence’s role in the effort to secure the Capitol complex.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
In a statement Wednesday evening, chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said that earlier in the week, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser "requested approximately 340 D.C. National Guardsmen to assist DC police in preparation for possible protests today."
"That request was approved," he said.
"Today, the mayor requested the full activation of the D.C. Guard to support local and federal law enforcement as they respond to the situation at the Capitol. That request was approved. There have been no other requests from the D.C. government."
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy acknowledged there was a "little bit of confusion" with regard to the additional request, CNN reports.
"But as we worked through it, we ultimately made the determination about a half hour later to mobilize the entire DC National Guard. So, this has been incredibly fluid. But I have to go through the Secretary of Defense ultimately to get the final approval to mobilize personnel as well as to conduct operations in cooperation, in coordination with local authorities," he said.
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