Jun 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Increased armed presence planned for D.C. tonight

Demonstrators stand around a fire during a protest near the White House in response to the killing of George Floyd
Demonstrators stand around a fire during a protest near the White House in response to the killing of George Floyd. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Government officials say plans are in place for a significantly heavier armed presence on the streets of Washington, D.C. tonight in response to the increasingly violent protests linked to the death of George Floyd.

What we're hearing: "Tonight you will see increased presence, both police...other agencies, and National Guard presence," a source familiar with the government's plans said.

  • "They are likely to pull from neighboring states' additional National Guard troops to support the police in DC tonight. To enforce the curfew and to make sure no violence happens and to make sure no more monuments are desecrated.”
  • The source added that, given that D.C. is not a state and thus has no governor, the Secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy, has a role in deploying the National Guard to the district.
  • A second source familiar with the planning confirmed that McCarthy will be involved in activating the National Guard in D.C.

Behind the scenes: President Trump has been agitating for an increasingly aggressive military response to the riots. He has turned to his top military adviser, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his Defense Secretary Mark Esper for advice.

  • "The Chairman, as the principal military advisor to the President provides his best military advice and counsel," a Pentagon official told Axios. "Both the Secretary of Defense and Chairman are in communication with the Chief of the National Guard Bureau and several State Adjutant Generals about their support to states."
  • The White House, Pentagon, and the office of Mayor Muriel Bowser did not respond to requests for a comment.

The backstory: Earlier today, Trump berated U.S. governors for being "weak" in a video teleconference call, and demanded tougher crackdowns on the protests across the country.

The U.S. already has 45,000 National Guard troops supporting the COVID-19 pandemic.

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