Northam calls FEMA denial ‘a slap in the face’
Trump administration declined federal funding for Va. National Guard, police at U.S. Capitol
In a tweet Tuesday, Gov. Ralph Northam decried the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s denial of federal funding for the Virginia National Guard presence at the U.S. Capitol as a “slap in the face” by President Donald Trump.
“Virginia was there to defend the U.S. Capitol on January 6 — and we are committed to ensuring a peaceful transfer of power tomorrow. Now, the same president who incited this terrorism has denied us support in our efforts to stop it,” the governor tweeted. “A slap in the face.”
FEMA denied requests from Virginia and Maryland for an emergency declaration Monday, according to The Washington Post. The decision, which both states plan to appeal, would leave Virginia and Maryland state governments bearing most of the cost burden for deploying National Guard members and state and local police officers to help restore order at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection and to maintain security around the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Northam spokesperson Alena Yarmosky said the state could lose up to 75% of federal reimbursement, adding that the state plans to appeal after Biden is inaugurated Wednesday at noon.
During the breach of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of pro-Trump supporters, Northam sent Virginia National Guard members and about 200 Virginia State Police troopers to help regain control of the situation after U.S. Capitol Police were overwhelmed. Northam promised to keep Guard members in place through the inauguration of Biden. Currently about 2,400 Virginia National Guard members are stationed in Washington, D.C., as part of an unprecedented force of 25,000 guardsmen charged with maintaining security for Biden’s inauguration.
The FBI, following the events of Jan. 6, issued alerts of possible violent uprisings at the U.S. Capitol and state capitol buildings around Biden’s inauguration from right wing extremists who believe despite evidence and multiple court rulings that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. The president was impeached on Jan. 13 for inciting the Capitol insurrection, making him the first U.S. president to be impeached twice. The U.S. Senate is expected to hold his post-presidency impeachment trial in coming weeks.
Virginia’s Capitol Square, which is closed through Thursday, saw about 100 gun-rights protesters gather nearby Monday, while others drove through the city as part of the Virginia Citizens Defense League’s “rolling caravan” to support the Second Amendment. Small bands of protesters from various groups, including the Original Black Panthers of Virginia and local members of the far right boogaloo boys and Proud Boys movements showed up for the protests. It was a far quieter demonstration than in 2020, when about 22,000 people — most of them armed — crowded into the downtown Richmond streets around the Capitol for a rally.
Protests at other state capitols last weekend were similarly subdued or nonexistent, although security and tensions remain high in Washington, D.C.