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Pelosi appoints first Black House sergeant-at-arms

Pelosi appoints first Black House sergeant-at-arms
© Washington Examiner/Pool

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week Five takeaways on a surprisingly poor jobs report On The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to 498K, hitting new post-lockdown low | House to advance appropriations bills in June, July MORE (D-Calif.) on Friday appointed the lower chamber's first Black sergeant-at-arms. 

In an announcement on the Speaker's website, Pelosi announced the appointment of Maj. Gen. William J. Walker to serve in the position.  

Walker currently serves as the chief of the Washington, D.C., National Guard.

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“It is my honor to appoint District of Columbia National Guard Major General William J. Walker to serve as the 38th Sergeant-at-Arms for the House of Representatives,” Pelosi said in the announcement. 

“The role of Sergeant-at-Arms is foundational to the functioning of Congress. Since the earliest days of our Founding, the Sergeant-at-Arms has been tasked with the essential responsibility of securing the People’s House and ensuring that it can continue to perform its solemn Constitutional duty: to serve the American people and advance our democracy," she continued. 

“His historic appointment as the first Black American to serve as Sergeant-at-Arms is an important step forward for this institution and our nation," Pelosi stated. 

The appointment from Pelosi comes after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol during which a mob of former President TrumpDonald TrumpDemocrats, activists blast reported Trump DOJ effort to get journalists' phone records Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: report MORE's supporters breached Capitol security and made their way into both chambers of Congress.

The breach forced lawmakers, staff and members of the media to flee their respective chambers and hide in undisclosed locations throughout the Capitol complex. 

Following the riot, Pelosi announced that former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving intended to resign. The former Senate sergeant-at-arms, Michael Stenger, resigned shortly afterward. 

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Irving came under fire after former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund alleged that Irving rebuffed his request to deploy National Guardsmen two days before the Jan. 6 attack. 

Irving has disputed this claim. 

As D.C. National Guard chief, Walker was also involved in the response to the Jan. 6 attacks.

He told lawmakers on a pair of Senate panels during a hearing earlier this month that Army officials were hesitant about deploying the National Guard to the Capitol because of "optics."

“The Army senior leaders did not think that it looked good, it would be a good optic. They further stated that it could incite the crowd,” Walker said at the time.

After Irving's resignation, Timothy Blodgett served as the interim House sergeant-at-arms. Walker will replace Blodgett. 

Walker served as the 23rd commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard responsible for the leadership, training and "operational readiness" of the Army and Air Force components of the D.C. Guard. 

The appointee has also had an extensive career in the law enforcement and intelligence community. 

According to Pelosi's statement, Walker served simultaneously with the National Guard for 30 years and as a special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

"His experience will be an important asset to the House, particularly in light of the January 6 insurrection," she said. "It is essential that we work to strengthen our institution and keep our Capitol community, and all who visit, safe.” 

-Updated 4:23 p.m.