- Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser says the invasion of the Capitol Wednesday was “textbook terrorism” and what President Donald Trump “wanted to happen.”
- She criticised the Capitol Police for security failures and called for an investigation.
- Bowser also renewed calls for DC statehood, saying that if she were a governor she would have been able to activate the National Guard more quickly.
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Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser criticised President Donald Trump for the mob of his supporters who invaded the US Capitol Wednesday, calling their actions “textbook terrorism,” and called on Congress to grant the district statehood so that her office would have the authority to implement greater security measures.
“The current president must be held accountable for this unprecedented attack on our democracy. What happened yesterday is what he wanted to happen, and we must not underestimate the damage he can do to our nation and our democracy over the next two weeks,” she said at a press conference Thursday.
Bowser also criticised the Capitol Police force, which is distinct from the DC Metropolitan Police under her control, for Wednesday’s security failures. She requested that a terrorism task force investigate Wednesday’s events.
While Metro police chief Robert Contee spoke at Thursday’s press conference, the Capitol Police force did not have its chief or any spokespeople participating. Moments before the meeting began, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund distributed a statement saying his officers “responded valiantly” to the mob.
Bowser said that Congress “must create a nonpartisan commission to understand the catastrophic security failures” of Wednesday’s riot and ask “why the law enforcement response was stronger during the protests over the summer” when more people were arrested during anti-racism protests following the police killing of George Floyd.
On Wednesday, the pro-Trump demonstrators broke into the US Capitol building, triggering security measures that ended the electoral college vote count certifying President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election â€” normally a ceremonial event.
Rioters ransacked the halls and chambers of Congress, broke into the offices of members of Congress, and destroyed and stole property in view of cameras and while posting images and videos on social media.
Prior to the invasion, Trump spoke to a rally of his supporters several miles away, spurring them to act based on a false conspiracy theory that the election was fraudulent and denying the reality of his loss.
Congress reconvened to certify the votes later Wednesday night, over the objections of more than 100 Republican members of Congress who still alleged a false conspiracy theory that there were irregularities in the election. Most of them were elected on the very same ballots they baselessly claim may have been marred with fraud.
“Despite the actions of an unhinged president and those who believe the baseless conspiracy theories peddled by him and other officials, our democracy remains strong,” Bowser said at the press conference.
In addition to a renewed call to make the District of Columbia the 51st US state, Bowser said Congress should immediately grant her the ability to invoke the National Guard.
She said that Capitol Hill has that ability but declined to use it. Bowser said that while state governors have the unilateral power to activate the National Guard, she can only activate the DC National Guard with the permission of the secretary of the Army.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy ultimately approved Bowser’s request for the National Guard on Wednesday; it is unclear exactly how long it took for this request to be approved and there are reports that Trump actively resisted the deployment of more Guardsman to counter his supporters.
As more Guard personnel arrived in the city, they began assisting local and federal law enforcement, with the Department of Justice taking the lead on the law enforcement response. More than 6,000 Guard members from multiple states and DC are expected to be active in the national capital region by the weekend.
Bowser also said that as a state governor, she would have more flexibility in ordering National Guard forces with specific plans if they were to be activated, rather than needing to coordinate through the Army secretary.
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