WASHINGTON — Three days before supporters of President Donald Trump rioted at the Capitol, the Pentagon asked the U.S Capitol Police if it needed National Guard manpower. On Wednesday, as the mob descended on the building, Justice Department leaders reached out to Capitol police to offer up FBI agents.
U.S. Capitol police turned down help from the federal government both times, according to senior defense officials and two people familiar with the matter.
They told The Associated Press that the Capitol Police had planned for a free speech demonstration and didn’t need more help. Sources also told the AP that officials were "still stinging" from events this summer when federal law enforcement was deployed to break up mostly peaceful protesters near the White House.
The result was protesters overrunning the U.S. Capitol building. The riots briefly delayed Congressional proceedings in tallying the Electoral College vote and led to the deaths of five people. One protester was shot and killed, three people died of "medical emergencies," and one Capitol police officer died from injuries on Thursday.
There have been signs for weeks of looming violence from Trump supporters. Since December, far-right message boards have been openly planning to disrupt the Electoral College tally in the open.
The failure also raised questions about the treatment of mainly white Trump supporters, compared with the Black and brown protesters across the country who demonstrated last year over police brutality.
“Was there a structural feeling that well, these are a bunch of conservatives, they’re not going to do anything like this? Quite possibly,” Ed Davis, a former Boston Police Commissioner, told the AP. “That’s where the racial component to this comes into play in my mind. Was there a lack of urgency or a sense that this could never happen with this crowd? Is that possible? Absolutely.”
Several top Capitol security officials, including U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, Sergeant at Arms of the Senate Michael Stenger and Sergeant at Arms of the House Paul Irving all tendered their resignation on Thursday.