Governor Abbott has some words for those public officials and lawmakers making disparaging remarks aimed at the National Guard securing Washington, D.C. this week – “This is the most offensive thing I’ve ever heard.” The FBI is vetting all 25,000 National Guard troops providing security for the week of Joe Biden’s inauguration. The agency and the Department of Defense say there is no evidence of specific threats and no red flags have been raised but the need is there given what happened on January 6.
The worry is that an attack from within will happen during Biden’s inauguration. What that means is the Department of Defense and the FBI are worried that someone cleared to be within the inauguration’s parameters, like the National Guard or other security people, will try to disrupt the ceremony and perhaps even attempt to assassinate Joe Biden. This is something most people don’t even think about because it is so out of the realm of normal thoughts of a presidential inauguration. We live in unusual times now though, and after the violence on January 6, everyone is proceeding as if anything is possible, including the most nefarious of actions.
Giving the fish eye to the National Guardsmen is a going too far for many people, including Governor Abbott. He authorized sending over 1,000 members of the Texas National Guard to D.C. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy warned National Guard commanders to be on watch for potential inside threats from their members assigned to providing security for Biden’s inauguration. He made some statements Sunday that didn’t sit well with many military supporters, including the governor of Texas.
“We’re continually going through the process, and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals assigned to this operation,” McCarthy told the outlet on Sunday.
The official noted that the vetting has not yet produced any evidence of such threats, and leaders have also not seen other evidence to suggest any problems from within their ranks. Regardless, he said that National Guard members are being trained to identify potential insider threats.
Multiple officials told the outlet that the FBI began screening the Guard troops over a week ago and will likely conclude the process by inauguration day. “The question is, is that all of them? Are there others?” McCarthy said. “We need to be conscious of it and we need to put all of the mechanisms in place to thoroughly vet these men and women who would support any operations like this.”
McCarthy mentions that service members from across the military attended the Trump rally on January 6 but it is unclear so far as to how many participated in the riot that happened on Capitol Hill. I’ve seen reports of several members of the military, mostly retired members, who have been arrested for their involvement in the riot, including a retired Air Force airman from Texas.
Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, has been meeting with Guard troops as they arrive in D.C. and as they gather downtown. He said he believes there are good processes in place to identify any potential threats.
“If there’s any indication that any of our soldiers or airmen are expressing things that are extremist views, it’s either handed over to law enforcement or dealt with the chain of command immediately,” he said.
Governor Abbott tweeted his disapproval of this kind of treatment toward members of the National Guard. If this additional level of scrutiny continues, don’t look to him to send troops to D.C. again.
“This is the most offensive thing I’ve ever heard,” Abbott, a Republican, wrote on Twitter. “No one should ever question the loyalty or professionalism of the Texas National Guard.”
“I authorized more than 1,000 to go to DC,” Abbott wrote. “I’ll never do it again if they are disrespected like this.”
This is the most offensive thing I've ever heard.
No one should ever question the loyalty or professionalism of the Texas National Guard. @TexasGuard
I authorized more than 1,000 to go to DC.
I'll never do it again if they are disrespected like this.https://t.co/STZDMz7PGm
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 19, 2021
The responses from Texas liberals to Abbott’s tweet were predictable. They asked, This is the most offensive thing you’ve ever seen?
Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, was interviewed on CNN yesterday by former Obama staffer, Jim Sciutto. As Sciutto nodded along in agreement, Cohen opined that the likelihood of an attack from within is plausible because the guardsmen are mostly white and probably the majority of them voted for Trump. He said probably only about 25% of them voted for Biden. Cohen is not some newbie backbencher filled with hatred for the military, he is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. Despite the fact that Cohen must have been briefed that the FBI and the Department of Defense both acknowledge there have been no threats uncovered during this additional scrutiny, he was given a platform by CNN to spew his vitriol.
.@RepCohen on his concerns w/ the National Guard securing the Inauguration: “The [National] Guard is 90 some-odd percent male; and only about 20 percent of white males voted for Biden … there are probably not more than 25% of the people there protecting us that voted for Biden” pic.twitter.com/ofQfLuCw8I
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 18, 2021
The Secret Service is in charge of event security, but there is a wide variety of military and law enforcement personnel involved. Most of the Guardsmen are armed. The concern is a result of talk of armed protests leading up to the inauguration. McCarthy said units are going through repeated drills to practice when and how to use force. They will work with law enforcement and law enforcement officers will make any arrests necessary.
Will the likes of Rep. Cohen suffer any consequences for his ugly and divisive words against Trump voters? No, of course not. Democrat talking points since January 6 have been to blame the Trump rally participants as racists, they want to do away with black votes for Biden. Not all of the rally-goers went on to riot on Capitol Hill. Those are the people who must be held accountable, not Trump supporters who believed the false narratives that the electoral votes would be tossed aside and the election victory would go to Trump.