Donald Trump never gave any order for thousands of military personnel to protect the U.S. Capitol on January 6, despite his repeated claims to the contrary.
The House committee investigating the Capitol riot outlined this fact in another release of new evidence. This time, it’s audio from testimony provided to the panel by Christopher Miller, who was acting Secretary of Defense at the time of the Capitol violence and confirmed no presidential order for the deployment of thousands of troops — something Trump’s specifically insinuated that he issued — was ever given. Asked about something related to the idea of 10,000 National Guard troops readying to protect the Capitol, Miller said: “I was never given any direction or order or knew of any plans of that nature… We obviously had plans for activating more folks, but that was not anything more than contingency planning. There was no official message traffic or anything of that nature” about such a push. “There was no order from the president,” Miller later added.
Compare that with one of many recent Truth Social posts from Trump. “It’s Nancy Pelosi’s fault, she turned down the troops! Perhaps she was disengaged – maybe looking for her husband!” he ranted there last week. (Obviously, that’s not what occurred.) “Why aren’t they calling Nancy Pelosi, or the D.C. Mayor, who are IN CHARGE OF SECURITY, to ask why they turned down 10,000-20,000 National Guard Troops, or Soldiers, prior to January 6?” Trump added in another post, referring to the House committee examining the riot.
As previously reported here, Defense Department personnel were apparently in touch with the U.S. Capitol Police prior to January 6 about the possibility of additional department assistance in security for the occasion, when Congress would be meeting to certify the outcome of the 2020 presidential race, but Capitol Police personnel made no subsequent asks of the Pentagon. That’s a dramatically different story than what Trump has been pushing. What actually happened sounds more like a relatively routine interaction in which another chance to preemptively thwart the upcoming violence of January 6 was lost. There was no substantial push from Trump to which Pelosi pushed back. The Capitol Police Board includes a member who reports to the House Speaker — and one who reports to the Senate leader, who was Mitch McConnell at the point in question.
Another piece of evidence recently spotlighted by the riot panel is a copy of remarks prepared for then-President Trump to deliver on the day after the violence. Trump evidently made handwritten alterations to the copy of the remarks, and they’re revealing. As reported on this site, the seemingly originally printed document states, speaking for the then-president: “I am directing the Department of Justice to ensure all lawbreakers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law” — but that’s all crossed out. At another point in the prepared remarks, the document states: “To those who engaged in acts of violence and destruction, I want to be very clear you do not represent me. You do not represent our movement.” Starting after the word “destruction,” that’s all also crossed out — providing a remarkably on-point outline of how Trump was approaching what happened. He resisted calling for the prosecution of or disowning the rioters, according to available information.