Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Mo.) said that National Guard troops who are stationed around the U.S. Capitol building in Washington should be sent home, saying there is no evidence of a threat that justifies them being there.
“I’m not aware of any threat to justify the continued presence today around the Capitol, much less into the fall,” the Arkansas Republican told Fox News on Monday. “If Joe Biden comes to the Capitol and gives a joint session speech in the next few weeks, as new presidents tend to do, obviously there [would be] an increased security posture at that time. Congress isn’t even in session this week.”
Following the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol, thousands of National Guard troopers were called in and were stationed around the building.
But with the conclusion of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, questions remain over why the Guard troops are still stationed there. Reports citing anonymous military sources have said that the troops could stay there until the fall.
“There was a clear failure by the security leaders on Capitol Hill to prepare for Jan. 6,” Cotton added. “The officers of the Capitol Police performed bravely, [but] they are right to have no confidence in their leadership.”
Several weeks ago, U.S. Army officials confirmed that at least 5,000 Guard troops would be stationed in Washington until mid-March. Military officials have estimated that keeping the troops there will cost nearly $500 million.
After the Jan. 6 incident, the Capitol area was also fenced off.
“The simple fact is, as everyone knows, walls work,” said Cotton in his interview. “In fact, [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi erected a wall around the people’s Capitol and has one up to this day even though the security threat doesn’t justify it.”
“The only briefings that we’ve had, through the media really, is that the troops may be staying there through the fall,” Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) told Fox in a Feb. 15 interview. “Which is extremely concerning because myself and several of my colleagues have asked Nancy Pelosi for a briefing as to: ‘Why do we need these troops here?’ And we have received zero information, zero.
“It’s amazing to me that she can do this without any disclosure, without any information, and just continue to spend money with no briefing. [It] doesn’t make sense to me.”
Samuel Allegri contributed to this report.