In a move to show Trump who runs it in Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser said she wants out-of-state military troops out of the nation’s capital.
“The very first thing is we want the military — we want troops from out-of-state out of Washington, DC,” Bowser said at a press conference Thursday.
The troops were called in to by the Trump administration to quell the protests over the death of George Floyd. Peaceful protests turned to loot over the last few days in the District of Columbia and other major cities.
On Monday, D.C. National Guard was activated to assist the local Metropolitan Police Department with the protests. They rolled onto the White House complex with military trucks.
As of Thursday, more than 4,500 National Guard members had been deployed to DC. However, several states sent their Guard troops at the request of Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Those include Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.
No active-duty forces have entered the city yet although it has been threatened by Trump.
Taxation Without Representation
Bowser doesn’t have authority over D.C. National Guard. Instead, the guard operates in Washington under the authority of the Secretary of the Army.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan sent Maryland National Guard troops to D.C. They were tasked with helping guard national monuments, including the Lincoln Memorial he said. However, Bowser said she had not spoken to Hogan and “can’t approve” of the mission.
“If I wanted troops from Maryland to come into the district, we are a member of a compact, which allows me to make that request specifically to any state National Guard to do that. I have not done that for any state,” the mayor said.
She continued that there are other “federal military assets that we did not request that we understand are under the direction of Attorney General (William) Barr.”
Pushing The Boundaries
Mayor Bowser is “very concerned” with how federal law enforcement expanded farther out from the White House complex. She said she requested the D.C. police chief to talk to federal leaders to push the perimeter line back to Lafayette Park, in front of the White House.
She was successful in that request.
“When they pushed out onto a DC street, that is too far and that is what we push back on,” Bowser said.
D.C. has a unique jurisdictional situation as some parts are under federal control. The streets are under the jurisdiction of the D.C. Metro Police, but the White House complex falls under federal jurisdiction.
“Keep in mind that that’s the People’s House. It’s a sad commentary that the House and its inhabitants have to be walled off,” Bowser said. “We should want the White House to be opened up.”
In addition, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday expressing her concern.
“We are concerned about the increased militarization and lack of clarity that may increase chaos. I am writing to request a full list of the agencies involved and clarifications of the roles and responsibilities of the troops and federal law enforcement resources operating in the city,” Pelosi wrote.
“Congress and the American people need to know who is in charge, what is the chain of command, what is the mission, and by what authority is the National Guard from other states operating in the capital.”
As the protests are expected to continue through the weekend, the tension between local and federal is expected to intensify.