Despite the lack of any publicly available, concrete evidence to justify the massive overreaction of deploying 26,000-armed National Guard Troops to the District for the Biden Inauguration, the Democrats, and others in government, have saddled taxpayers with a nearly half BILLION-dollar charge. As I noted earlier, during the Inaugural week, downtown Washington, DC was a desolate, heavily fortified, ‘no man’s land.’
The massive National Guard deployment brought troops in from all 50 states and four territories as law enforcement agencies essentially lock down the Capitol and downtown DC for Biden. The thousands of Guard troops were stationed behind unscalable fencing topped by razor wire at the Capitol, and across the city to block traffic and protect landmarks. Thousands of troops remain in Washington weeks after the Inauguration, and up to 7,000 are expected to stay until mid-March.
And this unprecedented, and many argue, unwarranted, show of military force in the nation’s capital doesn’t come cheap.
According to AP:
Officials said the nearly $500 million includes the costs of transporting Guard troops from their states to Washington, their salaries and benefits, as well as housing and other essentials. The officials were not authorized to publicly discuss internal figures and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Because the troops were activated by the federal government for more than 30 days, their health benefits are also covered, adding to the price of the deployment. Officials say the money is expected to cover the costs of the Guard through mid-March, when the troops are expected to leave. Between 5,000 and 7,000 troops are scheduled to stay in Washington through March 14.
The stated justification for this military ‘occupation’ was as a response to the ‘deadly’ January 6 Capitol riot, where hundreds of unarmed protesters swarmed and occupied the Capitol building. Though violent at times, only one person, a rioter – Ashli Babbitt – was confirmed killed directly in the riot. She was shot by a Capitol Police officer.
One Capitol Police officer died afterwards, but autopsy reports show no signs of injuries that could have caused his death. Three other protesters died of natural causes or existing medical conditions.
Various government sources, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) noted increased threat of ‘militia activity’ and their threats to come armed to Washington for the Inauguration, but no specific threat assessment that I am aware of seemed to justify 26,000 troops. While, in terms of security, I am always a strong proponent of better safe than sorry, this event certainly appeared like massive overkill.
Many called it ‘security theater.’ I also called it political theater, noting that it seemed as much a scare tactic to frighten average Americans of the made-up threat from Trump supporters and Republicans in general.
Ultimately, absolutely nothing materialized in Washington – except the $500 million price tag.