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The former US Capitol Police chief claimed on Sunday that the House and Senate repeatedly turned down his requests for additional security at Capitol Hill before the Capitol Building was stormed by pro-Trump rioters on Wednesday, NPR reports.
Former chief Steven Sund made the revealing comments in an interview with the Washington Post, contradicting claims that the National Guard was never requested to intervene. Sund resigned from his position in the wake of the massive security breach.
According to Sund, House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving expressed concern about the "optics" of having armed National Guard servicemen guarding the Capitol. Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger also did not recommend a National Guard presence, but suggested that Sund informally request that they be on standby.
Irving and Stenger have both since resigned from their positions.
Pentagon officials were reportedly in agreement with Irving, with Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt saying "I don’t like the visual of the National Guard standing a police line with the Capitol in the background," Piatt said on a call with Sund.
Democratic Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser also requested a light police presence during the protest, releasing a statement on the matter one day before the riot took place.
Bowser ended up deploying a limited number of National Guardsmen, just 340 unarmed troops, as the riot was taking place. However, the troops were sent in to handle traffic flow and were not meant to aid law enforcement. The troops arrived three hours after the riot had begun, by which point four deaths had already occurred and the riot was already winding down.
"If we would have had the National Guard we could have held them at bay longer, until more officers from our partner agencies could arrive," Sund argued.
Sund warned Capitol security that "if they don't get their act together with physical security, it's going to happen again."