Cost to taxpayers for National Guard presence in D.C. nearly $500 million

Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, February 9, 2021

Democrats have yet to provide a rational explanation for why thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington, D.C.

What is known is the cost to taxpayers of the deployment. The Pentagon on Monday said that the total cost through March 15 will be $483 million, with $284 million stemming from personnel costs and $199 million from their operations.

National Guard in the Capitol militarized zone / AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democrat comrades only provide vague and ominous statements on why the Guard remains in D.C., such as to defend against “the enemy within.”

This has fueled a wide range of rumors and conspiracy theories from that of political theater to benefit an incoming administration to the result of a panic reaction over possibilities other military forces would respond to widespread perceptions of uncontrolled corruption in the nation’s capital.

The statements are “apparently Pelosi’s way of turning the security issue to her partisan advantage, hinting that Hill Republicans are the true enemy,” Washington Examiner columnist Byron York noted. “There are reports the troops are staying because those in charge — Pelosi? Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer? Others? — want them at the ready during the Trump impeachment trial.”

Speaking of vague, Secretary of the Army John Whitley gave this explanation to the press last week: “There are several upcoming events — we don’t know what they are — over the next several weeks, and they’re concerned that there could be situations where there are lawful protests, First Amendment-protected protests, that could either be used by malicious actors, or other problems that could emerge.”

There are other reports of a large protest planned for March 4, which was the Constitution’s original presidential inauguration day until it was changed to Jan. 20 in the 1930s. Then again, Democrats said the National Guard was needed in D.C. for Inauguration Day on Jan. 20 — and nothing happened.

Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton noted that he is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and is aware of no threat that would justify continued Guard presence in the nation’s capital.

In a recent text exchange, Cotton gave his prescription for what should be done now: “Store fencing, send home troops. The Capitol Police can get reinforcements from local law enforcement and local National Guard much faster with coordination. Tailor the personnel and physical barriers to any given threat.”

York noted: “There is no need for troops in the city. And yet, touring the federal area of Washington, one finds tall fencing and razor wire creating a huge militarized zone around the Capitol, with National Guard members guarding it from inside the fence. The barrier is not just on the perimeter of the Capitol. It extends for blocks beyond the building in every direction.”

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul said on Fox News on Jan. 29: “There are still 5,000 troops and this huge perimeter with razor wire. This isn’t really a great image for a free country or for our country. So, I say the sooner it’s torn down, the better. Who’s making these decisions, I guess, they’re unilaterally being made by Nancy Pelosi, maybe Chuck Schumer. But, I think also Democrats need to look in the mirror a little bit.”

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