House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says that claims by former President Donald Trump about offering to station 10,000 National Guard troops outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 are “completely made up.”
The former president appeared on Fox News on Sunday night and backed up earlier statements by Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff. Trump told host Steve Hilton that congressional leaders rebuffed an offer of 10,000 troops to support Capitol police over the optics of having those troops surrounding the U.S. Capitol, according to Fox News.
White House officials approached the Department of Defense days before the Jan. 6 riot with a warning that rally crowds in Washington, D.C., may be larger than expected, according to Trump. The warning was later passed on to congressional leaders along with an offer to provide National Guard troops to support police in the area, but Trump said that congressional leaders passed on the offer.
“I definitely gave the number of 10,000 National Guardsmen, and [said] I think you should have 10,000 of the National Guard ready. They took that number. From what I understand, they gave it to the people at the Capitol, which is controlled by Pelosi. And I heard they rejected it because they didn’t think it would look good,” Trump told Hilton. “So, you know, that was a big mistake.”
Pelosi’s office denied Trump’s claim. Her spokesman, Drew Hammill, told The Washington Post that Trump’s assertion was “completely made up.” The Post also reported that a Pentagon search of their request records turned up no such official request for 10,000 National Guard troops to be stationed at the Capitol.
On Jan. 22, Vanity Fair reported that Trump told acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller ahead of Jan. 6 that 10,000 National Guard troops would be needed to secure the Capitol building from the expected protesters. Miller said the president never made an official request, however. As Vanity Fair reports:
On the evening of January 5 — the night before a white supremacist mob stormed Capitol Hill in a siege that would leave five dead — the acting secretary of defense, Christopher Miller, was at the White House with his chief of staff, Kash Patel. They were meeting with President Trump on “an Iran issue,” Miller told me. But then the conversation switched gears. The president, Miller recalled, asked how many troops the Pentagon planned to turn out the following day. “We’re like, ‘We’re going to provide any National Guard support that the District requests,’” Miller responded. “And [Trump] goes, ‘You’re going to need 10,000 people.’ No, I’m not talking bulls—. He said that. And we’re like, ‘Maybe. But you know, someone’s going to have to ask for it.’” At that point Miller remembered the president telling him, “‘You do what you need to do. You do what you need to do.’ He said, ‘You’re going to need 10,000.’ That’s what he said. Swear to God.”