Hundreds of National Guard troops are patrolling Washington, D.C., on foot and in military vehicles for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address set for Tuesday. A fence was also built around the Capitol in preparation.
Video posted to Twitter on Monday by independent journalist Tayler Hansen shows uniformed troops in and around military humvees.
Also on Monday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz posted video on Twitter showing newly-erected fencing surrounding the Capitol grounds.
“Welcome to Kabuki theater Washington. This is the fence Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have erected, because we need theatrical backdrops for Biden’s State of the Union Address,” Cruz said in the video. “Unless they’re expecting a zombie apocalypse, this makes no sense as a security matter. But it is Hollywood theatrics. The same theatrics we’ve seen for the past year plus. Pitiful.”
United States Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said in a statement on Sunday that the fencing was being rebuilt “out of an abundance of caution.”
“Our Department’s mission to protect the United States Congress, the Capitol, and the legislative process remains unwavering. In light of the upcoming State of the Union Address, and the possibility of demonstrations in the next couple of weeks, we have been working closely with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners on a security plan to prevent any disruption to the important work of Congress,” his statement read. “Out of an abundance of caution, and in conjunction with the United States Secret Service, a plan has been approved to put up the inner-perimeter fence around the Capitol building for the State of the Union Address.”
Manger said he has “also requested support from outside law enforcement agencies as well as the National Guard to assist with our security precautions.”
Last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved requests for 700 National Guard troops to assist law enforcement during Biden’s State of the Union Address.
Around 400 D.C. National Guard members and 300 members outside the district will help law enforcement run traffic control. No members will carry firearms “or take part in law enforcement or domestic-surveillance activities,” the National Guard Bureau said.
“The people who live, work and visit the District are part of our community, and their safety is our first mission priority,” Major General Sherrie McCandless, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, said in a statement, as reported by CBS News. “Our MPD and USCP partners have asked for our help in ensuring people can demonstrate peacefully and safely, and we stand ready to assist.”
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