National Guard Steps in To Protect DC Monuments


Unarmed members of D.C. National Guard will provide additional security for monuments in Washington, D.C., amid cries for many to be taken down and vandalism of statues and landmarks across the country.

“The District of Columbia National Guard is responding to a request to support law enforcement officials and has dispatched unarmed personnel, with others on stand-by,” spokesman Major Robert Perino told CNN.

“Activated Guardsmen are expected to provide security for local monuments and critical infrastructure.”

The National Park Police reportedly made the request for assistance, and a defense official told CNN that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy signed a Tuesday memo authorizing the activation of the National Guard.

President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that anyone who vandalizes or destroys a monument or statue could face up to 10 years in prison.

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“This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!” he tweeted.

Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt told Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Tuesday that he had requested for the National Guard to “be available” to protect monuments.

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“Earlier today, I instructed the erection of a fence at Lafayette Plaza as well as at St. John’s Church. And we will protect these monuments and we will do it with the dispatch and severity last night,” he said.

“Our Park Police and the Metro D.C. Police, as well as the U.S. Secret Service uniformed patrol, did an excellent job in addressing the issue and rapidly protecting the statue. And those activities will continue.”

“These people are exceptional,” Bernhardt added. “They’re dedicated, and they are dealing with the savage, highly significant situation.”

About 5,000 National Guard troops were called to patrol D.C. earlier this month, CNN reported, as protests continued in response to George Floyd’s death on May 25 in Minneapolis after a police officer knelt on his neck for roughly nine minutes during an arrest.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser wrote in a letter to Attorney General William Barr that she was “concerned that unidentified federal personnel patrolling the streets” could pose unnecessary risks.

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“The deployment of federal law enforcement personnel and equipment are inflaming demonstrators and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and for reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing Black Americans,” she wrote.

Barr responded in a letter of his own that said federal officers were operating under federal and local laws, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“The television footage of these events — viewed by people across the nation and around the world — conveyed the impression that the United States was on the brink of losing control of its capital city,” he wrote.

“Surely you understand that the President could not stand idly by when unrest at the seat of the federal government threatened the safety of federal law enforcement officers and the operations of the United States government.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith