As somebody who has worked on Capitol Hill and in institutions trying to influence government for just over 20 years, I shake my head every time I drive by a newly militarized Capitol Hill knowing that there is zero reason to have a wall with barbed wire protected by thousands of National Guardsmen surrounding the Capitol complex.
The creation of a Capitol Hill fortress will alienate the American people, cost way too much money and not provide any increased protection for Members of Congress.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has lost her marbles and accused Republican representatives of being enemies when she declared “the enemy is within the House of Representatives.” Declaring that Republicans are the de facto “enemy of the people” sounds like something Democrats would have complained about a few months ago, but now it is okay, because the hate speech rules do not apply to Democrats. Democrats don’t see bullying against Republicans as a bad thing.
Security measures, like fencing and armed guards, should have been put in place by Speaker Pelosi before the January 6th assault on the Capitol and these measures made sense to protect the Biden Inauguration ceremony, but they are clearly not needed now on a permanent basis. The National Guardsmen patrolling are nothing more than anti-terrorism theater.
Mrs. Pelosi, it is time to tear down that wall and send the troops home.
When President Ronald Reagan uttered the words “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” in Berlin Germany in June of 1987, that speech was controversial and some on his staff worried that it would aggravate the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States while embarrassing Gorbachev. Speaker Pelosi has created a similar situation, because the creation of Fort Capitol Hill gives off the air of government walling itself off from the American people. The presence of armed military personnel will give the American people the impression that they are all being treated as a threat.
The January 6th assault on the Capitol was a once in a lifetime event and there is no current similar threat. There is zero probability that President Joe Biden will have a rally on the Ellipse and urge his BLM and Antifa followers to assault the Capitol by the thousands. It is absurd to think that the fact pattern that rolled out on January 6th will happen again. If a similar situation develops somehow, there will be plenty of time to prepare to get fencing and the National Guard in place. The assault on the Capitol by large numbers of extremists was a disgrace to our nation, yet something that is highly unlikely to ever happen again.
As the old saying goes, Congress is very good at two things: doing nothing and overacting. After they did nothing in preparation for the assault, they now are in the overaction phase of Congressional response. CNN reported on January 30, 2021, “a recommendation from the acting chief of the US Capitol Police for permanent fencing and other enhanced security measures around the US Capitol in the aftermath of the January 6 insurrection has been met with resistance from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and from the mayor of Washington.” DC Mayor Muriel Bowser responded that the city will not "accept extra troops or permanent fencing as a long-term fixture in DC." Mayor Bowser is spot on.
There is emerging evidence that the ones to blame for the Capitol Police not being prepared were politicians who may have refused to provide extra resources to protect the Capitol on January 6th. Reps. Rodney Davis (R-IA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), James Comer (R-KY), Devin Nunes (R-CA) sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi asking “when then-Chief Sund made a request for national guard support on January 4th, why was that request denied?” They have many other questions that they demand be answered regarding why the Capitol was not protected from a potential attack on that day because of the inaction of politicians. There is a question as to whether the political leadership in Congress gave enough support for the Capitol Police and whether politicians scapegoated the Capitol Police Chief and other security staff by firing them after the riot.
It is clear that the show of force today is compensation for what did not happen on January 6th. Taxpayers and the families of the National Guard troops will pay the price to let Speaker Pelosi sleep better at night and to make believe she is providing extra security for Congress.
Speaker Pelosi should tear down that wall, send the National Guard home, and get back to work for the American people.