ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Just as Congress was convening to certify the Electoral College votes and begin the long, formal process of declaring Joe Biden the next president of the United States, insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol, breaching police barricades and forcefully entering the building. Legislators were evacuated or taken into secure hiding locations, while many of their staff took cover in the House chamber.
Following these attacks, conversation has turned to the lack of police preparedness and volume of officers present at the Capitol, given President Trump's weeks of calling for "big, wild" protests in D.C. on Jan. 6.
Maryland's Gov. Larry Hogan provided insight Thursday into why backup from D.C.'s neighbors was delayed in response to the Capitol riots. Hogan said he was in the middle of a video conference with the Japanese ambassador to the U.S. when his chief of staff informed him the Capitol was under attack.
"We immediately offered support to the District of Columbia, which submitted a direct request for law enforcement support through the emergency management assistance compact," Hogan said, authorizing 200 Maryland State Troopers and the state's National Guard unit to be sent to D.C.
But under federal law, final authorization for National Guard troops to be sent across the border to federal land, such as the Capitol grounds, is controlled by the Secretary of Defense, not D.C.'s mayor, and Hogan said his requests were denied.
"I was ready, willing and able to immediately deploy [National Guard] to the Capitol, however we were repeatedly denied approval to do so," Hogan said.
As he waited for approval, Hogan received a phone call from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who Hogan said was calling from an "undisclosed bunker" where he, Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer had been taken during the evacuation.
"[Hoyer] said that the U.S. Capitol Police was overwhelmed, that there was no federal law enforcement presence and that the leaders of Congress were pleading with me, as the Governor of Maryland, for assistance from Maryland's National Guard and State Police," Hogan said, getting emotional.
Approximately 90 minutes later, Hogan got a call to his cell from Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, allowing the mobilization of National Guard troops; Hogan said Maryland's guard was the first out-of-state unit in the city.
Hogan said the Maryland National Guard will extend their mission in D.C. through the end of the month to provide coverage leading up to, during and after the Inauguration.
"Our institutions have held firm in the face of this attempted insurrection, but we remain at a very fragile moment, and each of us has a choice to make," Hogan said. "We can either descend further into chaos, or we can rise above and meet this test with real courage and patriotism."