Fact Check: Did Pelosi Reject Trump’s Request for National Guard Troops on January 6?
A viral Instagram post from Donald Trump Jr. claims that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused Donald Trump’s “request for a national guard presence” during the January 6 Capitol insurrection. This isn’t the first time this particular claim has gone viral. In February 2021, as reported by the Washington Post, during a Fox news interview with Steve Hilton, President Donald Trump claimed that he “requested” 10,000 National Guard troops to be deployed to the Capitol, but that his request was rejected by Pelosi.
In Trump’s words: “I requested … 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. So, you know, that was a big mistake.”
The claim that Pelosi rejected Trump’s request for a National Guard presence on January 6 is false.
“The speaker of the House does not have the power to block an order from the commander in chief,” Drew Hammil, deputy chief of staff for Pelosi, told The Dispatch Fact Check via email. “This is fiction.”
Josh Huder, a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Government Affairs Institute, similarly told The Dispatch Fact Check that “the speaker does not have control of any branch of the armed services.”
“The National Guard can only be activated by the president or a governor,” Huder added. “In the case of D.C., it can only be mobilized by the president of the United States.”
A statement from Ryan McCarthy, secretary of the Army under Donald Trump, on the “National Guard response to timing and coordination with other States,” does not mention Trump’s request for a National Guard presence, nor does it mention anything about Pelosi rejecting the alleged request. A section of the statement reads:
During a rapidly evolving situation Wednesday Jan. 6, the Department Defense was fielding uncoordinated calls from hundreds of elected officials requesting and offering assistance to respond to the unprecedented breach of the U.S. Capitol Building. The Army and the D.C. National Guard were coordinating with the federal Capitol Police and the local D.C. Metropolitan Police Department to assist with an immediate response. Secretary McCarthy first spoke with Governor Hogan at 4:40 p.m. on Jan. 6, where he thanked Governor Hogan’s offer to provide support. Secretary McCarthy thanked Gov. Hogan for his support and ensured him his service members will be taken care of and provided a point-to-point contact.
Also, it’s with noting that during the first day of hearings by the January 6 committee, Rep. Liz Cheney said: “Trump gave no order to deploy the National Guard that day, and made no effort to work with the Department of Justice to coordinate and deploy law enforcement assets. But Mike Pence did each of those things.”
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