In a letter to Pentagon and Justice Department officials just one day before riotous Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, Democratic Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser discouraged additional help from federal law enforcement — only later to slam federal agents for not doing more to quell the riots.
“The District of Columbia Government has not requested personnel from any other federal law enforcement agencies,” Bowser wrote to acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, and Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy on Tuesday.
She insisted that the Metropolitan Police Department was “prepared” to handle the demonstrations in cooperation with its federal partners, specifically the U.S. Park Police, U.S. Capitol Police and U.S. Secret Service.
“To be clear, the District of Columbia is not requesting other federal law enforcement personnel and discourages any additional deployment without immediate notification to, and consultation with, MPD if such plans are underway,” she continued.
She reasoned in the letter that the presence of “unidentified” federal agents “caused confusion” during demonstrations last year and could become a “national security threat” by leaving MPD with no way to decipher between armed groups.
Yet on Thursday, while speaking to reporters in the aftermath of the riots, Bowser bashed federal law enforcement for their supposed lackluster response. She accused federal personnel of responding more forcefully to Black Lives Matter protests in the city last summer than they did to Wednesday’s violence.
“We must also understand why the federal law enforcement response was much stronger [during the Black Lives Matter protests], Bowser said, according to CBS News.
During the conference, she also criticized Capitol Police — the specific agency charged with protecting the U.S. Congress — for failing to prevent hundreds of protesters from tearing down security barricades and ultimately pushing into the Capitol building. The pandemonium ended up resulting in shots being fired and one rioter being killed.
“Obviously it was a failure or you would not have had police lines breached and people entering the building by breaking windows,” she said.
As the events unfolded Wednesday afternoon it quickly became clear that law enforcement were outmanned and under-equipped to handle the escalating situation, leading to President Trump eventually sending in the National Guard to quell the violence and secure the Capitol.
It should be noted that Bowser’s letter was a request and not a directive. Nor does she have authority of federal partners such as the Capitol Police.