Two senior Pentagon officials, who had been appointed by Donald Trump, were singled out during a Senate hearing on Wednesday for their role in the slow response by security forces to the assault on Capitol Hill on January 6 .
Several witnesses claimed that the nearly three-and-a-half-hour delay in the deployment of the National Guard was due to the fact that decision-making power was only held by the former acting defense minister, Christopher Miller, and former Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, two allies of Donald Trump.
According to General William Walker, commander of the Washington National Guard, Ryan McCarthy even said that “rapid reaction force“, which stood ready to intervene in the event of violence, could not be deployed without its green light.
He said the delay meant that this force had been unavailable at the height of the violence, which left five people dead.
Three hours, too long a delay
The green light for the deployment of the National Guard has “finally given by the Acting Minister of Defense and forwarded to me by Army officials at 5:08 p.m.“William Walker said at a joint hearing Wednesday before two Senate committees.”It shouldn’t take three hours“, he said.
The general clarified that Miller and McCarthy had not been available for a 2:30 p.m. phone call about the situation.
But, he added, Ryan McCarthy’s collaborators who joined the call were opposed to the National Guard deployment because they “thought it would make a mess“They also claimed that sending the soldiers in uniform would fuel the anger of the rioters,” said William Walker.
Robert Salesses, a senior Defense Ministry official, confirmed that Christopher Miller – appointed by Donald Trump on November 9, nearly a week after his defeat in the presidential election – had ruled that the decision to activate the National Guard came back to him.
“Miller wanted to decide how the National Guard was going to be used that day“, he said during the hearing.