DeWine calls on National Guard
Troops report to duty until Jan. 21 for possible riots
With the potential for further rioting at the U.S. Capitol and in Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine authorized 580 Ohio National Guard soldiers and airmen into active duty between Thursday and Jan. 21.
“This activation allows them to begin training in preparation to assist during the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C.,” he said Tuesday. “This group will also assist in Ohio.”
About 200 guard members will go to the inauguration, DeWine said.
DeWine said he was “very concerned” about the possibility of riots.
“People have the right to protest,” he said. “They do not have the right to be destructive or hurt other people.”
Supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump, a Republican, stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress was in the process of certifying the electoral vote. The rioters were angry that Congress was declaring Democrat Joe Biden the winner of the presidential election. Four protesters and a Capitol police officer died as a result of the riots.
Trump has repeatedly claimed the election was “rigged,” which has been rejected more than 50 times in court — including by judges he’s nominated — and state officials, including fellow Republicans who support him.
There have been credible threats made for further violence at not only the Jan. 20 inauguration of Biden, but possibly elsewhere, including state capitals. There are plans for weekend protests at the Ohio Statehouse and at other locations in Columbus.
Asked Tuesday why he hasn’t addressed Trump’s numerous falsehoods, including that the election he lost was “rigged,” DeWine, a fellow Republican who supports the president, said: “We’re focused on a pandemic. We’re focused on making this the year of recovery in Ohio and I don’t think that it’s my obligation to stand up every single time the president says something and refute that.”
He said Trump’s response to the riots was “pouring basically gasoline on the fire. He shouldn’t have said it. But I cannot spend every day refuting what the president says or any president” says.
In May 2020, DeWine deployed about 1,200 members of the National Guard to Cleveland and Columbus, at the requests of those cities’ mayors, to respond to protests — some of which became violent — over the death of George Floyd, an African-American man, when a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Cincinnati-area Republican, said he’s been told by the FBI and other law enforcement “about the threat of additional violence in Washington, D.C., and at state capitals around the country between now” and the inauguration.
“These reports are deeply concerning,” he said. “Violence is never the answer and we must take all threats seriously.”
Portman called on Trump to address the nation “and explicitly urge his supporters to remain peaceful and refrain from violence.”
If Trump fails to do so, Portman said: “He will bear responsibility.”
Portman said Trump “bears some responsibility for what happened” during the Jan. 6 riot.