WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense is considering a request from U.S. Capitol Police and the Washington, D.C., government to have the National Guard help respond to an expected truck convoy aimed at disrupting traffic around the Capitol ahead of the March 1 State of the Union.
“Those agencies have asked for National Guard personnel to provide support at traffic control points in and around the district to help ... address potential challenges stemming from possible disruptions at key traffic arteries,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement. Kirby said no decision had been made as to whether to provide the support.
Capitol Police and the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency did not immediately return requests for comment Tuesday. Capitol Police said in a statement Friday that they were considering installing a temporary fence around the Capitol ahead of President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union.
Multiple groups spurred by the COVID-19 protests in Canada that paralyzed Ottawa and blocked a key border crossing between Ontario and Michigan are planning similar truck convoys to D.C. It’s unclear how long protests could last, with some telling news outlets that they plan to arrive Wednesday, and others saying on social media that they intend to slow traffic March 1.
Unlike state governors, D.C.’s mayor does not have the authority to deploy the National Guard in an emergency.
The Pentagon streamlined the process for the city and federal agencies to request National Guard assistance after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, when initial requests were rejected. It then took several hours to scramble guardsmen while the Capitol was under siege and lawmakers huddled in safe rooms.