National Security

Pelosi: It was ‘inexplicable’ why it took so long for National Guard to be activated on Jan. 6 

Julia Nikhinson

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Thursday it was “inexplicable” why it took the National Guard so long to be activated during the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Pelosi — who made her comments during a CNN special,“Live from the Capitol: January 6th, One Year Later” — said that she, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) had made calls to officials, including governors, while the attack was taking place.

“We were fighting to get the National Guard and it was very hard,” Pelosi said.

“You were on the phone making calls?” CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked the House Speaker.

“Yes, making calls. Chuck Schumer and I, Steny Hoyer, on the phone making calls about this, calling governors to make sure that they — we understood the readiness of their folks to come,” Pelosi answered.

“One of the under assistants, whatever you call them, secretaries of defense, McCarthy kept saying, ‘Well, it’s hard and it takes time and I want to talk to my boss, and I haven’t [had] chance to go see him,’” Pelosi later added. “There was really a delay.”

“It was inexplicable, just made no sense at all,” she said.

The response time of the National Guard during the Jan. 6 attack remains under scrutiny after lawmakers, aides, reporters and others hid for hours that day while a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol and tried to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election results.

Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund told The Washington Post in an interview last January that he had made a request prior to the Jan. 6 riot to be allowed to ask to have D.C. National Guard on standby in the event that they may be needed, but he alleged that House and Senate security officials either rejected or offered a different alternative to his request. 

During testimony last March, House sergeant-at-arms Maj. Gen. William Walker, who during the Jan. 6 riot was the commander of D.C.’s National Guard, said that the Pentagon approved a Guard deployment more than three hours after a “frantic call” had been placed by the Capitol Police chief requesting help.

During the interview with Pelosi, Cooper also mentioned that few Republicans seemed to speak publicly on Thursday about the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection and that some of the House Speaker’s Republican colleagues seemed to brush off the deadly event. 

“Well, let’s not spend a whole lot of time on their excuses and whining. The fact is, it was a terrible thing that happened. An assault on the Capitol, an assault on the Constitution, so that we did not arrange for the peaceful transfer of power, an assault on our democracy,” Pelosi answered. “They can say whatever they want. But you’d have to ask them why they would not want to show up for something that they knew was wrong.”

Tags Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Jan. 6 attack Jan. 6 Insurrection jan. 6 riot Nancy Pelosi National Guard Steny Hoyer
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