ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday he immediately mobilized state police and National Guard members when asked to go to Washington to help protect the U.S. Capitol, but the state was repeatedly denied permission before finally being authorized to send help by a defense official.
The Republican governor spoke at a news conference about the state’s response, a day after supporters of President Donald Trump breached the Capitol.
“There’s been ongoing discussions with all the federal agencies and all of our state agencies for a long time about the inauguration, which we’re always involved in, but this particular mission yesterday, you know, it just seemed to be a little dysfunctional,” Hogan said.
The District of Columbia submitted a direct request for help, Hogan said, and he immediately mobilized state police and the National Guard. However, Hogan said the state was repeatedly denied approval.
Hogan said he was in the middle of a videoconference with the Japanese ambassador to the United States when his chief of staff came in to tell him that “the U.S. Capitol was under attack.” Hogan said he immediately excused himself from the videoconference and convened an emergency meeting to mobilize state troopers and the National Guard.
The response to the siege on the Capitol was mired in red tape.
Hogan said he received a call in the middle of that meeting from Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat. Hogan said Hoyer told him that he was with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York Sen. Charles Schumer “in an undisclosed bunker they’d been spirited off to.”
Hogan also said Hoyer told him that the U.S. Capitol Police were “overwhelmed.” The governor said Hoyer “was pleading with us” to send the National Guard, but Hogan said he had not received authorization.
“He was yelling across the room to Schumer who, and they were back and forth saying, ‘We do have the authorization,’ and I’m saying: ‘I’m telling you, we do not have the authorization.’”
It was an hour and a half after speaking with Hoyer that Hogan said he heard from Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, who Hogan said asked: “Can you come as soon as possible?”
Hogan said he told him: “Yeah, we’ve been waiting. We’re ready.”
“I can’t tell you what was going on on the other end, on the decision-making process. There’s been lots of speculation in the media about that, but I’m not privy to what was going on inside the White House or inside the Pentagon,” Hogan said.
The governor said he thought he believed Trump should resign or be removed from office.
Top Democrats in the House and Senate have joined a growing call for President Donald Trump to be removed from office immediately, accusing the president of fomenting Wednesday’s violence at the U.S. Capitol.
“I think there’s no question that America would be better off if the president would resign or be removed from office and if Mike Pence, the vice president of the United States, would conduct a peaceful transition of power over the next 13 days until President Biden is sworn in,” Hogan said.
The governor said he was extending the Maryland National Guard’s mission through the inauguration and the end of the month. About 200 members of the state police and other Maryland police agencies and 500 guard members were on standby outside the nation’s capital on Thursday.
“I just want to assure all Americans that the state of Maryland will do anything and everything we possibly can to continue to secure the core of our nation’s capital and to ensure the peaceful transition of power,” Hogan said.