Senator Tom Cotton is calling for the thousands of National Guard troops who remain in Washington, D.C. to be sent home.
Cotton reminded that over the summer he had argued in a now infamous New York Times op-ed titled “Send in the Troops” that “the president should deploy federal troops, if necessary, to restore and maintain order” in cities where rioting over racial justice issues had spiraled out of control.
“My position was grounded in federal law, based on many historical precedents, and supported by a majority of Americans. But this argument outraged many on the left,” Cotton wrote.
“But when a different mob chanting different slogans threatened our Capitol, many of my critics sang a different tune,” the Arkansas Republican continued.
Cotton noted that he sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee but is aware of no specific, credible threats other than internet “bluster” to justify the continued troop presence.
The senator argued that the presence of so many thousands of troops was “disproportionate to the threat” not only in regards to the Capitol riot but even as a precaution against a potential inauguration attack, saying that “security measures should be calibrated to the actual threats.”
If future threats warrant it, the Capitol Police can request backup from federal law enforcement agencies as well as the 17,000 soldiers of the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia National Guards, Cotton said.
“It’s time to send home the troops,” the senator said.
About 26,000 National Guard troops flooded into Washington ahead of President Biden’s inauguration after the January 6 violence at the Capitol when Trump supporters forced their way past security and into the halls of Congress. The violence resulted in five dead. There are currently 7,000 troops still in Washington, and up to 5,000 troops are expected to remain in the nation’s capital until mid-March.