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Hogan defends sending Maryland National Guard troops to D.C., emphasizes that they are protecting monuments

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan stressed that 120 Maryland National Guard members who have been sent to Washington, D.C., are guarding national monuments -- not engaging in altercations with protesters. Hogan has been criticized for sending the Guard after District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said she did not want out-of-state Guard troops.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan stressed that 120 Maryland National Guard members who have been sent to Washington, D.C., are guarding national monuments -- not engaging in altercations with protesters. Hogan has been criticized for sending the Guard after District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said she did not want out-of-state Guard troops. (Pamela Wood / Baltimore Sun)

Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday defended his decision to send Maryland National Guard troops to Washington, D.C., where the mayor had not requested them.

Hogan stressed that Maryland’s Guard members are protecting national monuments, and are not involved with law enforcement clashes with peaceful protesters that have rattled the nation’s capital city — particularly on Monday, when federal officers violently cleared a path so that President Donald Trump could walk to a church for a photo opportunity.

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“They are specifically not involved in any of the things with the protesters,” Hogan, like Trump a Republican, said in response to questions from reporters. “They are on a specific mission, spread out, standing at monuments, without being involved in any of that stuff.”

Hogan said they were guarding the Lincoln Memorial, among other landmarks.

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A total of 120 guardsmen were sent to Washington, according to the Maryland National Guard. They’re under the control of the D.C. National Guard.

Hogan said U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper asked for the Maryland Guard troops, and that he notified the office of District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser.

“We did reach out to her office and she approved of that mission,” Hogan said.

Bowser’s office did not respond to questions from The Baltimore Sun. But on Twitter, the Democratic mayor said she did not want outside military forces in the District.

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“Although I requested the aid of an unarmed contingent of the District of Columbia National Guard, activated as part of the COVID-19 public health emergency in the District, I have not requested any additional National Guard members from any state,” she wrote.

Bowser continued: “Nor have I requested any additional law enforcement assistance from neighboring jurisdictions. Further, I have not requested any military forces that the President has deployed in the District.” Bowser said that the National Guard or military is not “under my direction nor accountable to me” or other District officials.

The ACLU of Maryland has criticized Hogan for sending in the Maryland National Guard after Bowser said she didn’t want out-of-state guardsmen.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, declined to send Virginia National Guard members to the District.

About 1,300 Maryland National Guard members have been serving as part of the state’s coronavirus response, such as distributing free meals. They have not been deployed in relation to largely peaceful protests in Baltimore and elsewhere around the state, though Guard trucks have been used to transport city police officers.

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