There were “no confrontations” between National Guard members and any protesters during President Biden’s inauguration ceremony outside the U.S. Capitol, National Guard spokeswoman Darla Torres told Fox News in a statement Thursday.
It’s not clear how many protesters showed up in the nation’s capital, though a heavily militarized presence in downtown Washington, D.C., likely deterred any large gatherings from coming together.
Up to 26,000 National Guard troops were deployed across the nation’s capital ahead of the inauguration of the 46th president.
There were also thousands of police officers, sheriffs and constables from across the country who participated in protecting Washington, D.C. Law enforcement officers from NYPD to Calhoun County, Texas were among those lining 15th Street — one block from the White House Wednesday.
While at least 26,000 National Guard troops have been a major focus in D.C., thousands of police, sheriffs and constables were there too on Jan. 20 — from NYC to Calhoun County, Texas. (Fox News)
The Guard declined to comment about when some of those guardsmen will begin heading home.
“We are here at the request of federal agencies and will stay as long as we are needed to meet their requirements. If we have excess capability and capacity, we want to get those soldiers and airmen back home to their families and employers as soon as we can,” Torres added.
National Guard walk around Washington the day after the inauguration of President Joe Biden, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
The National Guard said it is coordinating with federal law enforcement to meet any continuing requirements while simultaneously working the logistics to return Guard members to their home states, families and employers.
Constable David Thomas of Calhoun County, Texas Pct 5 was among law enforcement lining 15th Street — one block from the White House on Jan. 20. (Fox News)
“Our ability to move 26,000 Soldiers and Airmen to DC from every state and territory in less than two weeks would not have been possible without the support of our governors and their adjutants general,” Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard, said in a statement. “It speaks volumes about America’s investment in the National Guard; and most importantly, the support our service members get from their family and their employers.”
While it was a generally peaceful day on the East Coast, on the West Coast violent demonstrations that reportedly included Antifa members broke out in several cities, including Portland, Ore., Seattle and Denver.
Portland police declared an unlawful assembly Wednesday night as about 150 rioters caused damage to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building. Earlier gatherings in Portland involved Antifa protesters clash with law enforcement as they gathered to voice dissatisfaction with President Biden. Some in the group smashed windows and vandalized the Democratic Party of Oregon headquarters.
Seattle witnessed property damage and objects hurled at cars; reporters said demonstrators were protesting against Biden and law enforcement and carried a sign reading, “Abolish ICE.” In Denver, protesters burned an American flag in separate demonstrations that involved members of the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as others who chanted anti-Trump and anti-Biden slogans
Appearing on Fox News Thursday morning, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., argued that recent Antifa rioting following Biden’s inauguration proved his point made months again that violent mobs, whichever the political affiliation, need to be met with force.
“Just a few months ago, I remember the media and Democrats blaming all this Antifa violence on Donald Trump yet here we have Joe Biden in the White House and Antifa is still rampaging in the streets of Seattle, Portland and Denver,” Cotton said. “This proves a point I made months ago, this proves a point I made two weeks ago, that when you have a mob using violence for a political end, it doesn’t matter what slogan they’re chanting or what flag they’re waving, they have to be met with force.”
“That has to be a standard that we apply no matter what slogan a mob is chanting,” he said. “They’re not rampaging in the streets because Joe Biden is president, they weren’t doing it last summer when Donald Trump was president. They’re doing it because they hate America.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano, David Aaro contributed to this report.