The Maryland National Guard was ready for deployment when called to the riots yesterday at the US Capitol, and Maryland guard members were the first of similar units from five states to arrive on the scene, Gov Larry Hogan said during a press conference Thursday at the State House in Annapolis.
In Washington, the mayor cannot authorize deployment of National Guard units from other states, including Maryland, and that authorization would normally be required from the US Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon, Mr Hogan said.
But after more than an hour, that permission was still being denied for some reason. Then, the Secretary of the Army eventually called Mr Hogan on his cellphone and gave the governor permission to send the guard in. Which he did, as the troops had not wasted time waiting for the permission and had mobilized units all along.
The Maryland National Guard will post a team of about 500 troops in Washington for the next few days to protect the city from rioters and domestic terrorists incited by the words of President Donald Trump, who advised his supporters to “fight like hell” and “be wild,” and one of his lawyers, Rudolph Giuliani, who advised the crowd of the president’s supporters to engage in “trial by combat.”
Four deaths were reported during the riots, including one insurgent who was shot by Capitol Police inside the building, but no death was suffered by a member of the Maryland National Guard sent to protect the Capitol.
Mr Hogan was critical of the president and the clear incompetence of the police, who were outnumbered despite having known that protesters were coming to Washington and despite having known what words the president had spoken from the White House just a few hours prior to the assault.
“I think there is no question that America would be better off if the president would resign or be removed from office and if Mike Pence, the vice president of the United States, would conduct a peaceful transition of power over the next 13 days until President Biden is sworn in,” Mr Hogan said at the press conference.