PUNTA GORDA, Fla.—Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took on Feb. 28 rejected a request from the Biden administration to deploy the Florida National Guard to Washington for the State of the Union address on March 1.
“I have rejected this request,” DeSantis wrote on Twitter. “There will be no Florida National Guard sent to D.C. for Biden’s State of the Union.”
Christina Pushaw, the governor’s press secretary, said the request was made last week for help to prepare for “First Amendment protests.”
She continued, “Last year, when the National Guard deployed to DC around the inauguration, they were forced to sleep in freezing parking lots, all for a regime spectacle—Our dedicated, patriotic service members deserve better.”
While Florida will not be sending their national guard units, the Pentagon has approved the deployment of 700 other unarmed National Guard troops to Washington, D.C.
On Sunday, U.S. Capitol Police said that fencing will go up around the Capitol building and that roads will be closed in surrounding areas ahead of the state of the union address, out of an “abundance of caution.”
A statement released by Capitol Police said, “The United States Capitol Police and the United States Secret Service have been closely working together to plan for the upcoming State of the Union.”
The decision coincides with the trucker convoys that are rolling into the D.C. area to hold protests demanding an end to the White House’s extension of its national emergency declaration, ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, and a review of the government’s pandemic response.
No specific threats have been identified relating to the president’s March 1 speech, but Capitol Police are not taking any chances following the events on Jan. 6, 2021.
There is no love lost between Florida’s Republican governor and the Democratic president as they have sparred over COVID-19 restrictions, mask mandates, and the crisis on the southern border.
On Dec. 3, 2021, DeSantis reinstated the long-disbanded Florida State Guard in order to respond to state emergencies utilizing an all-volunteer force. It was designed to “assist the National Guard” during natural disasters such as hurricanes.