By Christopher Harper
After hundreds—perhaps thousands—of demonstrations over the years in Washington, D.C., how could law enforcement officials have been so poorly prepared for the attack on the U.S. Capitol?
For the most part, that question has gone unanswered as the media and Democrats blame President Trump.
The chaos showed that government agencies had no coordinated plan to defend against an attack on the Capitol.
The U.S. Capitol Police chief, Steven Sund, said he asked his supervisors for the National Guard to be put on alert long before the rioters exploded into the House and Senate. That request was denied.
“If we would have had the National Guard, we could have held them at bay longer, until more officers from our partner agencies could arrive,” said Sund, who, along with other law enforcement officials involved in the mess, has resigned.
Sund said that House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving rebuffed the idea, arguing he was uncomfortable with the “optics” that such a move would bring. Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger told Sund that he should informally reach out to his contacts at the Guard and ask them to be on alert, Sund added.
Both Irving and Stenger have since resigned from their posts in the fallout of the riots.
Despite numerous postings on social media calling for violent action, various federal agencies apparently failed to take the rhetoric seriously.
Dozens of posts listed assault rifles and other weapons that people claimed they were bringing to Washington. People discussed what types of ammunition would be best to carry and whether medical personnel would be available to treat the injured.
“It was such an embarrassingly bad failure and immediately became an infamous moment in American history,” said R.P. Eddy, a former American counterterrorism official.
Despite all of the red flags, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser sent a letter to top federal and local law enforcement officials that warned against massive police deployments. Bowser had complained loudly about the large presence of riot police during last June’s protests by Black Lives Matter.
All of the requests for support came far too late, resulting in National Guard troops arriving hours after the assault started.
“We rely on Capitol Police and federal law enforcement to provide an assessment of the situation,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said. “And based on that assessment that they had, they believed they had sufficient personnel and did not make a request.”
Ultimately, the rioters are responsible for the mess they created.
Now the politicians are shoveling the blame toward Donald Trump when the House and Senate leaders didn’t like the optics of a sufficient number of cops to handle the rioters.
As a result, the optics got a lot worse.