Standing across the street from the 7-foot tall black metal fence that now surrounds the U.S. Capitol building, National Guard soldiers shifted feet to brace themselves against the cold wind. Troops from Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York and Virginia joined those from D.C. Leaving their homes and jobs, the Guard troops are here, three days after two Air Force veterans were killed and three others died in an attempted insurrection. They are here to help ensure it does not happen again. “I never thought I would see this in my own country,” said one of them, who, like other troops, spoke anonymously without authorization to speak on the record. The soldier is part of a major mobilization effort that has seen bout 6,200 National Guard troops flow into town from several nearby states. The troops are already all in town. Troops expressed a true sense of duty and urgency, to help protect a city still on edge after the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot stoked by rhetoric from outgoing President Donald Trump and just ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration of his successor, Joe Biden.
Passersby showed their appreciation with nods and thumbs up. “Thanks for coming,” many said as the hurried past the troops. Even as Washington licks its wounds and tries to recover from an assault on the seat of government, a new wave of unrest may be about to crest. Those who stormed the Capitol were able to stall, but not end the certification of the 2020 presidential election making Biden the official winner. Now social media is full of posts extolling what’s been dubbed the “Million Militia March” in which Trump supporters will return to the Capitol ahead of the inauguration. Private chat groups on Gab and Parler are full of posts talking about possibly disrupting Biden’s inauguration, the New York Times reports. There is chatter about ride shares, where to find lodging in the Washington area — and what to bring. Baseball bats, perhaps, or assault rifles. [full article]