Jemima McEvoy Forbes Staff
Four House Republicans sent a letter to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday, suggesting she may have been involved in delaying the deployment of National Guard troops both before and during the Capitol siege, a claim the House speaker’s office has since bucked as a “partisan” attack.
The letter from Republican Reps. Rodney Davis (Ill.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), James Comer (Tenn.) and Devin Nunes (Calif.) suggests Pelosi wielded influence over the security decisions before and during the Jan. 6 attack due to her “enormous institutional responsibilities” and involvement in “all operational decisions made within the House.”
The lawmakers suggest that Pelosi was involved in denying a request former Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund claimed to have made for National Guard troops prior to the attack, though it has been reported that Sergeant of Arms Paul Irving did not consult with Pelosi about the decision.
“The response from the [Sergeant-at-Arms], acting on your behalf, was that the ‘optics’ of the National Guard on-site were not good and the intelligence didn’t support the move,” read the letter.
The lawmakers also claim Pelosi may have played a role in delaying the deployment of troops while the pro-Trump mob was inside the building on Jan. 6, saying “it took over an hour” for Sund’s request to be approved “because the [sergeant-at-arms] had to run the request up the chain of command, which undoubtably included you and your designees.”
Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, labeled the accusations baseless in a statement to Forbes, accusing the members of a “transparently partisan attempt to lay blame on the speaker” and highlighting the fact that the letter does not question Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) about whether he was involved in the Senate’s Sergeant of Arms’ parallel decision to deny Sund’s early request.
“Clearly, these Members are trying to deflect responsibility for the Capitol attack from Donald Trump,” said Hammill. “As the target of an assassination attempt, the speaker knows all too well the importance of security at the Capitol and is focused on getting to the bottom of all issues facing the Capitol Complex and the events that led up to the insurrection. Clearly, these Republican Ranking Members do not share this priority.”
Sund and House Sergeant of Arms Paul Irving both resigned from their positions in the aftermath of the deadly attack amid harsh national scrutiny. Sund later told The Washington Post that his requests for help were rejected or delayed six times before or during the attack. Both the House and Senate sergeant-at-arms rejected his pre-emptive request for National Guard troops, Sund said, while the Pentagon allegedly denied his pleas during the attack. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) similarly said that the Department of Defense denied repeated requests for National Guard intervention on Jan. 6. During Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) claimed that the former president made “no attempt” to reach the National Guard to help overwhelmed officers during the siege.
Ultimately, National Guard personnel did not arrive at the Capitol until 5:30 p.m.—hours after the attack began—by which point four people had died.