A few thousand National Guard troops could end up staying in the nation’s capital until mid-March, a U.S. defense official confirms to Fox News.
The National Guard is in the process of meeting with various federal agencies to “determine their requirements” for troops to stay beyond January, the official said. Planning is underway, but no final decisions have been made, the official added.
Around 25,000 Guardsmen deployed to Washington D.C., ahead of President Biden’s inauguration after the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol where authorities were badly outnumbered by pro-Trump supporters.
The ceremony went off with only a few minor arrests. About a dozen Guard troops were removed from their posts after being vetted by the FBI, including two who made extremist statements about the event.
In a statement Thursday, the National Guard said about 7,000 troops would remain in Washington through the “end of the month.” But there is concern among some city and federal authorities that protesters might return to Washington in early March on the original presidential inauguration date, March 4.
Six southern states left the union after Abraham Lincoln was elected in November and before his inauguration in March, a period known as “Secession Winter.”
The 20th Amendment moved the inauguration to its present Jan. 20 date. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president sworn into office on that date when he began his second term in 1937.
Before the ratification of the 20th Amendment in 1933, the new president was not sworn until the March following the election.
Lawmakers from both political parties were fuming this week after learning that troops were forced to take rest breaks outside the Capitol. Images circulated online showing Guardsmen camped in a cold garage, which prompted bipartisan calls for an investigation.
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