The claim: Nancy Pelosi rejected Donald Trump’s request for 10,000 National Guard troops to be deployed before Jan. 6
As a House committee continues its investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and former President Donald Trump goes on a speaking tour, debunked narratives about the deadly insurrection are resurfacing on social media.
Reports show military and law enforcement officials were unprepared and slow to respond to the riot. Trump has repeatedly attempted to blame that on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., claiming she rejected his request to deploy 10,000 National Guard troops to the Capitol ahead of his “Stop the Steal” rally.
Trump’s claim is one of many efforts by Republicans and supporters of the former president to shift blame and downplay the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that resulted in four deaths and led to more than 600 arrests.
“Trump Says Pelosi Turned Down His Request For 10,000 National Guard Troops For Jan. 6 Rally…!!!” reads the caption of a Dec. 13 Facebook video that accumulated more than 4,000 views within a couple days.
The video included in the post shows Trump speaking to a crowd on Dec. 11 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he claimed he recommended 10,000 National Guard troops be deployed because he knew the crowd size was going to be “enormous.”
“I recommended 10 but I said do whatever they want, they’re running the Capitol, they know what they’re doing,” Trump says in the video. “And the Capitol police knew about it, she (Pelosi) knew about it, and they turned it down because they said it didn’t look good.”
But Trump’s claim was debunked by fact-checkers in March, after he first made the statement during a Fox News appearance, and it’s still not true. There is no evidence Trump made any formal request about deploying 10,000 National Guard troops before the rally.
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USA TODAY reached out to Trump’s spokesperson and the Facebook page that shared the video for additional comment.
No record of the request
A government memo about the events leading up to Jan. 6, statements from Pelosi’s office and the Pentagon and testimony from the former House sergeant-at-arms show Trump did not request 10,000 troops ahead of the rally.
Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s spokesperson, told USA TODAY that Pelosi’s office was not consulted or contacted regarding any request for the National Guard ahead of Jan. 6, and he noted the speaker of the House does not have the power to reject that type of request.
Claims that Pelosi was in charge of Capitol security on Jan. 6 have been previously debunked by USA TODAY. The Capitol Police are overseen by the Capitol Police Board and committees from the Senate and House of Representatives.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby had previously looked into Trump’s claim and told The Washington Post in March that “we have no record of such an order being given.”
A timeline from the Department of Defense only mentions an agreement made on Jan. 4 about potentially providing 340 District of Columbia National Guard members at the request of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to support traffic control points and to deploy a quick reaction force “if additional support is requested by civilian authorities.”
Additionally, when asked by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during a Feb. 23 Senate hearing if discussions took place on Jan. 4 with congressional leadership about bringing in the National Guard, former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving said he “had no follow up conversations.”
“It was not until the sixth that I alerted leadership that we might be making a request,” Irving said. “And that was the end of the discussion.”
While Trump never formally requested 10,000 National Guard troops, then-acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller told Vanity Fair that Trump brought up the figure in conversation on the night before Jan. 6.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Pelosi rejected Trump’s request for 10,000 National Guard troops to be deployed before Jan. 6. Pelosi’s office said the speaker was not contacted about deploying the National Guard prior to the rally, and the Pentagon has previously stated that there is no record of the request. A timeline from the Department of Defense about the events leading up to Jan. 6 does not include any mention of a request for 10,000 National Guard members. The former House sergeant-at-arms said he did not have any discussions with congressional leaders about the National Guard until the day of the riot.
Our fact-check sources:
- Drew Hammill, Dec. 16, Phone interview with USA TODAY
- PolitiFact, March 2, No proof Trump requested 10,000 Guard troops for Jan. 6 or that Pelosi denied it
- The Washington Post, March 2, Trump falsely claims he ‘requested’ 10,000 troops rejected by Pelosi
- USA TODAY, July 27, Fact check: Nancy Pelosi wasn’t ‘in charge’ of Capitol Police on Jan. 6
- USA TODAY, March 2, Fact check: U.S. Capitol Police Board oversees the force, along with congressional committees
- Department of Defense, Jan. 11, Timeline
- Rev, Feb. 23, Senate Hearing on January 6 Capitol Attack Transcript
- USA TODAY, Feb. 23, Politics live updates: Capitol Police acted in same ways for riots, George Floyd protests, former chief says
- Vanity Fair, Jan. 22, ‘The president threw us under the bus’: embedding with Pentagon leadership in Trump’s chaotic last week
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