Oklahoma U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, released a late Thursday statement expressing strong disapproval of a request from the U.S. Capitol Police to keep thousands of National Guard troops stationed there to continue defending the building after January's deadly insurrection.
"I’m outraged that U.S. Capitol Police have requested to keep the nearly 5,000 National Guardsmen at the Capitol Complex for another two months without presenting clear and specific information," Inhofe said. "I haven’t been satisfied with any explanation Congress has received at numerous briefings that all these personnel, resources and barbed wire are needed."
Inhofe said the responsibility to defend the building should fall solely on civilian law enforcement, and that there are ways the Capitol Police can improve security without military assistance.
“What this solution should not look like is keeping the National Guardsmen here indefinitely, as has been rumored," Inhofe said. "This is not their job or their mission—and the image this would paint on the world stage is concerning. I look forward to working with law enforcement agencies and my colleagues to improve Capitol security and get our Guardsmen back home to their families.”
The National Guard has been deployed in Washington since January, when militants incited by then-President Donald Trump attacked the Capitol in an attempt to stop the Congressional certification of President Joe Biden's legitimate victory and assassinate Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and potentially other lawmakers. At least five people, including a Capitol police officer, died.
Trump later issued a video telling the attackers he loved them and that they were "very special." He was impeached by the House of Representatives, but Inhofe and junior Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, along with the majority of Senate Republicans, voted to acquit him for inciting the insurrection.