In an interview with Steve Bannon, Former Trump administration Pentagon official Kash Patel upended the narrative coming from the January 6 committee that Trump did nothing in advance to quell potential unrest at the Capitol, citing how Trump had authorized as many as 20,000 National Guard troops if local officials were willing to request them.
Despite the January 6 committee’s continued efforts to suggest Trump offered no such assistance, Patel has repeatedly claimed otherwise, having in the past referenced a January 3rd, 2021, meeting- which he attended along with Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Gen. Mark Milley, and presidential Chief of Staff Mark Meadows- where Trump mentioned him willing to authorize up to 20,000 troops.
Patel discussed this matter in furtherance with Bannon, explaining how while Trump was able to authorize the use of the National Guard domestically, he isn’t legally able to have them deployed lest he have a formal request from a local government (i.e., from a mayor) asking for said assistance.
And when this potential deployment of the National Guard was put before D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser prior to the Capitol incident, the D.C. mayor refused – in writing – said assistance on January 5th.
“The president can make an authorization and then there has to be a request. January 3rd or 4th we’re in the Oval Office – me, the sec. def., the chairman of the joint chief of staff, the president’s chief of staff of the United States – President Trump authorized up to 20,000 National Guard for across the country, not just D.C., for events related to January 6th. We said, ‘Roger that, sir.’ That activated a chain of command. We went to Nancy Pelosi and Mayor Bowser from D.C. Under the law, a local government must request it. We went to her in person two days earlier, she said no in writing – I have Mayor Bowser’s letter where she refused the additional support of the National Guard.”
In Mayor Bowser’s letter declining the presence of National Guard troops for January 6th, she wrote, “the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is prepared for this week’s First Amendment activities,” adding that the presence of the of the U.S. Capitol Police, Park Police, and Secret Service should suffice for any additional needs that may arise.
The letter goes on to state, “To be clear, the District of Columbia is not requesting other federal law enforcement personnel and discourages any additional deployment,” reiterating that, “MPD is well trained and prepared to lead law enforcement, coordination and response to allow for the peaceful demonstration of First Amendment rights in the District of Columbia.”
Clearly that ended up not being the case.
Patel continued explaining the chain of events that occurred when the National Guard was finally deployed to D.C. on January 6th, emphasizing that Trump did everything lawfully along the way and didn’t get troops deployed until Mayor Bowser officially made a request.
“I say do the reverse math, because on January 6th, right, when Pelosi and Bowser finally made the request, we prepped to the limit of the law. And we got the fastest cold start of the United States National Guard since World War II into D.C. because we were ready and the president authorized it. But it takes time, we’ve got to fly these guys in from all over the country.”