House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sought to shift blame in CNN’s soap opera town hall on Jan. 6, 2022 Thursday over the National Guard’s delayed deployment amid the Capitol riot one year prior.
While huddled with lawmakers in an undisclosed location during the turmoil, Pelosi said the speaker and other members of leadership were “fighting to get the National Guard.”
“And it was very hard,” the speaker added, complaining of bureaucratic excuses from the Pentagon that slowed the process down.
“It was really a delay,” Pelosi said. “It was inexplicable, that it just made no sense at all.”
The speaker made clear an earlier deployment “would have had a different story to tell,” while claiming the fate of American democracy hangs on a thorough investigation of the day’s events. Pelosi and her deputies in the House however are blocking Republican records requests regarding testimony the speaker had the opportunity to order the guard’s deployment, not one, but six times before members were begging for help from a bunker.
Four days after the riot, former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned his post in the aftermath, told the Washington Post Pelosi and her team were approached to approve pre-emptive reinforcements from the National Guard as early as Jan. 4. Sund said he made the request half a dozen times preceding the turmoil. On the day of the riot, the Post reported, “Sund said he pleaded for help five more times.”
Then-House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, however, who is overseen by the speaker, said the guard’s deployment was bad “optics” ahead of a mass protest with so much potential to descend into chaos even the Capitol parking attendants were restricting access. Pelosi and House Democrats had previously condemned federal troops in the capital to quell the sustained insurrection of left-wing anarchists. According to The Daily Caller a month later, three sources familiar with Irving’s conversations with the House Administration Committee said talks with the speaker’s office were factors in his “blender of decision making.”
So the question becomes: why did Speaker Pelosi, now blaming the Pentagon for the National Guard’s delay, deny the guard’s reinforcements two days before what’s become the Democrats’ new national holiday?
“It is hard to activate the National Guard. You have to start early,” Pelosi said on CNN Thursday. “And they had the authority here, but they didn’t have the permission.”
Except the Capitol Police chief was only granted the unilateral authority to call up the National Guard last month. And Sund’s request to bring in the Guard two days prior to Jan. 6 was rejected by an appointee who reports directly to the speaker.
Later in the two-hour primetime special in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall by a network setup that could’ve been used for an off-brand “American Idol,” Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn explained his continued presence on television was motivated by a desire for truth.
“People are probably tired of seeing my face on TV, [but] you know what, it’s therapeutic for me,” Dunn said, who told the Post last summer his injuries extended to PTSD from the N-word hurled at the black officer. “I’m just going to continue to tell my story… I want the truth to come out. I want the facts to come out.”
Would Dunn, then, ask Pelosi’s gatekeepers to release the documents requested by Republicans? Would he be upset to find out Pelosi blocked Guard reinforcements six times? CNN’s Jake Tapper, who appeared to hold back tears throughout the segment, didn’t ask.
Dunn, who says he was traumatized by the Capitol unrest, previously defended violent riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin wherein militant social justice warriors torched the community over the police shooting of an armed suspect. The devastation, which came in the 2020 summer of routine political violence normalized by Democrats and their media cheerleaders, left residents still picking up the pieces of a shattered town today. The Summer of Violence ultimately culminated in “some 15 times more injured police officers, 23 times as many arrests, and estimated damages in dollar terms up to 1,300 times more costly than those of the Capitol riot.”
CNN’s town hall remained laser-focused on commemorating the one-year anniversary of the two-hour riot whose demonstrators left the room in which the network aired its special virtually untouched.