Virginia governor REFUSED to send his National Guard to Washington DC

Virginia governor REFUSED to send his National Guard to Washington D.C. to help restore order after request from the White House – which also mulled taking over city’s police force

  • The governor of Virginia refused to send his National Guard troops across the Potomac River into Washington D.C. 
  • Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, turned down White House request 
  • ‘I am not going to send our men and women in uniform of a very proud National Guard to Washington for a photo-op,’ Northam said 
  • Meanwhile, the White House inquired about taking control of D.C. police 
  • Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser threatened legal action if they tried 

The governor of Virginia refused to send his National Guard troops across the Potomac River into Washington D.C., despite a request from the White House for the state to deploy its guardsmen to help disperse protesters.

‘I am not going to send our men and women in uniform of a very proud National Guard to Washington for a photo-op,’ Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, said at a press conference in Richmond on Tuesday.

White House officials also inquired about taking control of Washington D.C.’s police force as President Donald Trump sought to retake control of the situation after protests broke out over the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

Northam denied a request from the Pentagon for Virginia send between 3,000 and 5,000 members of its National Guard to the nation’s capitol.

Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia, a Democrat, refused to send his National Guard troops across the Potomac River into Washington D.C.

President Donald Trump’s administration had requested help from the National Guard ahead of the president’s visit to St. John’s Church Monday evening; above Trump walks through a line of Washington D.C. police on his way to the church

Military vehicles carrying National Guard personnel drive along West Executive Drive next to the White House on Monday afternoon

Truck loads of guard members arrived at the White House Monday afternoon shortly before peaceful protesters were cleared from area around the complex with tear gas, rubber bullets, and Park Police on horse back. It was done so Trump could have his photo taken in front of St. John’s Church, across the street from the White House, which was boarded up after some damage in Sunday’s protest. 

The governor said he denied the request for Virginia National Guard troops when Defense Secretary Mark Esper called him because he was concerned Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had not been consulted.

He also noted the state of Virginia has its own protests to deal with and didn’t think it was in the state’s ‘best interests’ to send its guard to the District of Columbia. 

National Guard troops fall under the direction of governors unless the president federalizes them. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, did send some of his Nation Guard members into Washington D.C.  

But President Trump didn’t help his relationship with governors when he told them during a video conference on Monday that they are ‘weak’ and need to ‘dominate’ cities ravaged by riots or they will look like ‘jerks.’ 

‘You have to dominate, if you don’t dominate you’re wasting your time. They’re going to run over you, you’re going to look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate,’ audio of the call revealed.

‘You’ve got to arrest people, you have to track people, you have to put them in jail for 10 years and you’ll never see this stuff again,’ Trump said during the 55-minute call. ‘We’re doing it in Washington, D.C. We’re going to do something that people haven’t seen before.’

Also during the call, Esper told governors to ‘dominate the battlespace,’ by mobilizing their National Guards. 

Meanwhile, the White House inquired about taking control of D.C. police as President Trump reportedly grew angry about news coverage that he fled into a White House bunker on Friday and was worried for his safety during protests, which came close to the White House complex.

White House officials inquired about taking control of D.C. police but Mayor Muriel Bowser threatened legal action if they tried

A protester is arrested near the White House on Monday as the area was cleared out

The District of Columbia is governed by the mayor and the city council but its status as a federal enclave allows the president to take control of local police officers in emergency situations.

John Falcicchio, Bowser’s chief of staff, said the mayor and other city officials told White House officials they would mount legal challenge if the federal government attempted to take over.

‘We believe we are firm in our understanding that what was presented yesterday would not be a prudent move,’ Falcicchio told reporters. ‘Although there were discussions yesterday, they still report to Mayor Bowser.’ 

D.C. officials said they were not involved in the decision to clear out the protesters before President Trump went to the historic St. Johns’ Church, known as the Church of Presidents as every president since James Madison has prayed there. 

The church is located directly across from the north side of the White House, only separated by Lafayette Park, which was tear gassed to disperse protesters moments before the president emerged from his residence to make the short trek across the street – flanked by Secret Service, cabinet members, aides and media the whole way there and back.  

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said they learned of plans to clear area shortly before it happened.

‘I was told of the movement, it was an unplanned movement, shortly before it occurred. The Metropolitan Police Department did not participate,’ Newsham said Tuesday at a news conference.

Bowser called the handling of the protesters ‘shameful.’

‘I didn’t see any provocation that would warrant the deployment of munitions, and especially for the purpose of moving the president across the street,’ she said at Tuesday’s press conference.

She also said she’s fought back against President Trump’s attempts to deploy active duty military throughout the city.

‘We don’t want the armed National Guard, armed military, and we don’t want any of those things on D.C. streets,’ Bowser said.  

St. John’s was boarded up as protests surrounded the White House the last few days and convened in Lafayette Park, which sits between the  White House and church.  Rioters set a in the basement of the church on Sunday. This was Trump’s first visit to a church since June of last year

Protesters in Lafayette Park were tear gassed and hit with non lethal rubber bullets to clear the path for the president’s trek across the street 

President Trump walked across from White House to St. John’s Church to hold up a bible for a photo op

President Trump declared himself the ‘law and order president’ in a tough speech to protesters

Trump’s photo op triggered outrage from church leaders and politicians from both sides of the aisle and led Arlington County police to pull their officers out of the capital after they were used to charge at protesters.

Joe Biden suggested that Trump open a Bible ‘instead of brandishing it,’ as the president did outside St. John’s Church. 

‘I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued this country – not use them for political gain,’ the presumptive Democratic nominee pledged in a speech in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi brandished her own bible on Tuesday to chastise the president.

The speaker held up her bible, in a counter to President Trump brandishing a bible on Monday afternoon, to read from Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8, focusing on its message of a ‘time to heal.’

‘Let’s focus from time to time to heal,’ she said during an event in the U.S. Capitol. ‘We would hope that the President of the United States would follow the lead of so many other presidents before has to be a healer in chief and not a fanner of the flame.’ 

Following Monday evening’s show down with peaceful protesters, Arlington County officials called their police out of Washington DC after their officers, armed in ACPD helmets and riot gear, assisted US Park officials in dispersing protesters near the church ahead of Trump’s visit.

Arlington officials said they sent officers on Sunday following a mutual aid request from Park Police, but they did not know officers would be used to clash with protesters and have ordered their police back home.

‘Appalled mutual aid agreement abused to endanger their and others safety for a photo op. We ordered @ArlingtonVaPD to immediately leave DC,’ County Board Chair Libby Garvey tweeted Monday night, about two hours after Trump’s photo session.

‘At the direction of the County Board, County Manager and Police Chief, ACPD officers have left the District. We are evaluating the agreements that allowed our officers to be put in a compromising position, which devalued the purpose of these mutual aid obligations,’ County Board member Katie Cristol said.  

Trump’s march to the church was conceived as a way to allow the president to demonstrate his self-proclaimed role as the ‘law and order president’ and – came after Trump vowed to use the military to restore order in cities across the country. 

As a PR move it may have backfired, after global and national media broadcast images of sheild-bearing and mounted police using force to clear Lafayette Park, an area whose use as a forum for demonstrations and speech has long been protected. 

The spectacle began in the Rose Garden when Trump claimed he’s an ally of peaceful demonstrators but warned, ‘I am your president of law and order.’ 

After his speech he walked to the church for his photo shoot.      

The protesters in the area Monday evening appeared to be acting peacefully before they were forced out through the aggressive measures including rubber bullets, pepper spray, and tear gas. 

The Episcopal Bishop of Washington DC, Mariann Budde, slammed Trump for using force to push out George Floyd protesters and for posing in front of the embattled church. 

Bishop Budde said: ‘I am outraged. I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call that they would be clearing with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop, holding a Bible, one that declares that God is love and when everything he has said and done is to enflame violence.’

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