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On Sunday, United States President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of National Guard troops from Washington, DC.
“I have just given an order for our National Guard to start the process of withdrawing from Washington, D.C., now that everything is under perfect control. They will be going home, but can quickly return, if needed. Far fewer protesters showed up last night than anticipated!” read the tweet.
Trump’s announcement comes after his decision last Monday to deploy active-duty military troops and mobilize the National Guard from other states received criticism from governors, mayors and the country’s military establishment.
In a letter posted on Twitter last Friday, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser requested the withdrawal of all extra guardsmen and active-duty military troops stating that the city was equipped to deal with “large demonstrations and First Amendment activities.”
“I continue to be concerned that unidentified federal personnel patrolling the streets of Washington, D.C. pose both safety and national security risks,” wrote the mayor. “The deployment of federal law enforcement personnel and equipment are inflaming demonstrators and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and for reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing Black Americans.”
On Saturday, a day before Trump’s withdrawal announcement, the Pentagon had first ordered all 1,600 active-duty military troops amassed by the president in the state, to be sent home.
Revealed by two senior officials at the White House who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the decision to de-escalate Trump’s response first came from Defense Secretary Mark Esper without consultation with the White House.
Esper’s orders were communicated through Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Joseph Lengyel.
In confirmation of Esper’s order, McCarthy announced at the Pentagon that the military troops had been ordered to return to their bases with the third US Infantry Regiment, based permanently outside Washington at Fort Myer, VA, being the last group to depart.
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