After a long period of silence, the White House on Wednesday afternoon directed the Pentagon to comply with a request made by Washington, D.C. officials to deploy the National Guard to the U.S. Capitol, which was breached earlier in the day in an apparent violent coup attempt by hundreds of seditious supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump.
Just before 3:30 pm, Jonathan Martin of the New York Times tweeted that the Virginia National Guard and 200 state troopers were being sent to D.C., according to a top Virginia official.
Those troops will be joined by National Guard members and state police from Maryland, according to a tweet shared by the state's Republican Governor Larry Hogan at 3:47 pm.
News of the deployment was confirmed by Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who said that "the National Guard is on the way along with other federal protective services." According to McEnany, the president issued the directive and reiterated his call for rioters "to remain peaceful."
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine demanded more from the president.
"We call on President Trump to immediately tell his supporters, who are trampling on the District of Columbia and have breached the U.S. Capitol, to cease and desist and return from whence they came in a peaceful manner," Racine said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon.
"We urge President Trump to do what he has not yet done, but what he must do: order his supporters to leave the District of Columbia and fully embrace the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris," Racine added.
Trump did not immediately condemn the violent actions of his mob, nor were troops immediately deployed after being requested.
"The Defense Department has received a request from the U.S. Capitol Police for additional D.C. National Guard forces," CNN reporter Josh Campbell tweeted at 3:25 pm, "but a decision has not been made whether to send resources."
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Minutes earlier, Washington Post reporter Aaron Davis claimed that a source told him that the Pentagon had denied a request made by D.C. officials to send additional National Guard troops to Washington.
BREAKING: A source tells me The Defense Department has just denied a request by DC officials to deploy the National Guard to the US Capitol.
— Aaron C. Davis (@byaaroncdavis) January 6, 2021
NBC News correspondent Garrett Haake confirmed that at the time, the Department of Defense had "not yet approved change-of-mission for the D.C. guard."
New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie suggested then that the Pentagon's initial reluctance to comply with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) plea for assistance might be related to the president's recent push to fire Pentagon officials and replace them with Trump loyalists.
explains some things about the DOD purge last month
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) January 6, 2021
While Trump has since reversed course, confusion remains. Daily Beast reporter Spencer Ackerman lamented around 3:30 pm that he "cannot get an answer from anyone across multiple agencies to the very simple question of who is in charge of the response to the MAGA violence at the Capitol and what is being done."
Roughly a half-hour later, Ackerman said that "the Pentagon says the Justice Department is in charge. The Justice Department has said nothing."
"Clearly and unsurprisingly," Ackerman added, "the administration confronted mostly peaceful protests by Black Lives Matter with a thousand-fold more concerted and heavier response."