Illinois Democrat Governor J.B. Pritzker this week activated 500 National Guard members and is sending them to Washington to “help with the continued military presence in the nation’s capital.”
“We are deploying these forces in support of civilian law enforcement based on threat-levels against the U.S. Capitol. These threats were assessed by the FBI and other federal agencies,” Maj. Gen. Rich Neely, the adjutant general of Illinois and commander of the Illinois National Guard, said in a statement.
“Our soldiers and airmen are committed to the defense of both our nation and our state. We have asked a lot of them in the last year and each time these men and women have answered the call and upheld their oath to defend and support the U.S. Constitution.”
“Major General Neely and I are ready to ensure that the state of Illinois continues its proud legacy of protecting our democracy. Ultimately, we must root out the dark forces of racism, white supremacy, and disinformation that have created this moment, but until we do that, our extraordinary troops will deploy with honor,” Pritzker, a Democrat, added.
The troops are slated to be in Washington by the beginning of next week. They’re expected to stay there until mid-March.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, also approved sending personnel to Washington this week.
Pritzker tweeted, We must root out the dark forces of racism, white supremacy and disinformation that have created this moment, but until we do that, our extraordinary @IL_Natl_Guard troops will deploy with honor. Thank you for defending our democracy.”
BIG ME A BREAK! What a crock of sh*t!
We must root out the dark forces of racism, white supremacy and disinformation that have created this moment, but until we do that, our extraordinary @IL_Natl_Guard troops will deploy with honor. Thank you for defending our democracy.https://t.co/DCrrDA8VaH
— Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) January 28, 2021
Other governors have recalled their troops and are not sending them back.
Approximately 7,000 troops have been requested to remain in Washington for the coming weeks. That level will likely go down to 5,000 by mid-March, acting Army Secretary John Whitley told reporters this week. The personnel are armed.
Members are providing “a variety of support”, including security, logistics, and medical evaluation.
Friday, during an interview on Mobile, AL radio’s FM Talk 106.5, Freshman GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville discussed the current situation on Capitol Hill, which he likened to a “war zone” with the National Guard presence.
The freshman U.S. Senator also questioned the treatment of the guardsman deployed around the U.S. Capitol.
“[I] live a hundred yards from my office,” he said. “I actually bought a house next to Mitch McConnell. Having a lot of it reworked. It’s only 1,000 square feet. That is kind of a small place. That’s all you need, but it’s a war zone. I’ve never seen anything like it. My dad was in the military forever and National Guard. We’ve had 25,000 National Guard people there, I guess for now for three weeks. I guess now we’re down to maybe 10,000 now. But we have 20 miles of razor wire all the way around all of the buildings — the Capitol, the Senate buildings. These guys and girls have been sleeping outside my office on the floor. We take candy out to them, popcorn. They’ve been MREs. It’s a shame.”
“They were treated badly — not they were abused or anything,” Tuberville continued. “There was just no planning, and how are you going to sleep that many people? They’re walking about with M5s and M16s. It is very different. I talked to the Alabama troops who were up there. We took pictures and ran into a lot of them. Every time I would walk by a National Guard — ‘Hey, where are you from?’ ‘I’m from Tennessee.’ ‘Where are you from?’ You know, we had troops from all 50 states. We’ve spent millions of the taxpayers’ dollars on this.”
Had the opportunity to meet with members of the Alabama National Guard yesterday! I am incredibly grateful for these men and women being here and faithfully fulfilling their mission to keep us safe.
Thank you. pic.twitter.com/1mqK0eyZIX
— Senator Tommy Tuberville (@SenTuberville) January 23, 2021