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Pelosi did not block the National Guard from the Capitol on Jan. 6

July 23, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blocked the National Guard from coming to the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. As Speaker of the House, Pelosi does not direct the National Guard. Further, as the Capitol came under attack, she and the Senate Majority leader called for military assistance, including the National Guard.

THE FACTS: On Tuesday, a false claim about the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol resurfaced suggesting that Pelosi blocked the National Guard from coming to lawmakers’ defense during the insurrection at the Capitol.

“@SpeakerPelosi, why did you block the National Guard from protecting the Capitol?” Indiana Rep. Jim Banks tweeted.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy posed a similar question on Fox News saying, “Was there a decision by the Speaker not to have the National Guard at the Capitol that day?”

The answer is no.

“On January 6th, the Speaker, a target of an assassination attempt that day, was no more in charge of Capitol security than Mitch McConnell was. This is a clear attempt to whitewash what happened on January 6th and divert blame,” Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for Pelosi told The Associated Press in an email.

The decision on whether to call National Guard troops to the Capitol is made by what is known as the Capitol Police Board, which is made up of the House Sergeant at Arms, the Senate Sergeant at Arms and the Architect of the Capitol. The board decided not to call the guard ahead of the insurrection but did eventually request assistance after the rioting had already begun, and the troops arrived several hours later.

The House Sergeant at Arms reports to Pelosi and the Senate Sergeant at Arms reported to McConnell, a Republican who was then Senate Majority Leader. There is no evidence that either directed the security officials not to call the guard beforehand, and Hammill said after the insurrection that Pelosi was never informed of such a request.

The officials on the board, along with the former Capitol Police chief, Steven Sund, have disputed each others’ accounts of who requested the guard when. Both Sergeants of Arms and the police chief resigned immediately after the attack.

Once Trump’s supporters were assaulting police and breaking into the building, Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer appealed to military leaders, asking the Army to deploy the National Guard.

“The Speaker believes security officials should make security decisions. The Speaker immediately signaled her support for the deployment of the National Guard when she was presented with that recommendation on the afternoon of January 6th. Public testimony confirms the fact that the Speaker was not made aware of any request for such a deployment prior to then,” Hammill said in a statement this week.

Republicans have falsely laid the blame on Pelosi without mentioning that GOP Leader McConnell had similar authority over the security officials that day. But there is no evidence that either was involved in any effort to block the National Guard before or during the insurrection.


Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this story.


This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with Facebook and other platforms to add context to misleading content and reduce its circulation online.