Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has joined the chorus of voices calling “BS” on the screening of nearly 25,000 National Guard troops deployed to protect former Vice President Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony.
On Monday, Abbott posted a tweet linking to a Washington Post article reporting on the “loyalty” screening that the FBI is performing on the troops tasked with securing the ceremony.
“This is the most offensive thing I’ve ever heard. No one should ever question the loyalty or professionalism of the Texas National Guard,” he tweeted. “I authorized more than 1,000 to go to DC. I’ll never do it again if they are disrespected like this.”
This is the most offensive thing I've ever heard.
No one should ever question the loyalty or professionalism of the Texas National Guard. @TexasGuard
I authorized more than 1,000 to go to DC.
I'll never do it again if they are disrespected like this.https://t.co/STZDMz7PGm
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 19, 2021
The Post reported, “[T]he Defense Department, assisted by the FBI, will conduct special vetting for National Guard personnel in Washington, who are expected to number up to 25,000 for the inauguration on Wednesday, said acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller.”
During a press conference held the day before the inauguration, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser supported the move, claiming that troops with certain political views should be removed from service. “I do think that it is prudent to make sure that [Guards] are being vetted, and that anybody who cannot pledge allegiance to their missions, and may be pulled by other views, needs not only to be removed from this duty, they need to be removed from the Guard,” she said.
DC Mayor Bowser: "I do think that it is prudent to make sure that [Guards] are being vetted, and that anybody who cannot pledge allegiance to their missions, and may be pulled by other views, needs not only to be removed from this duty, they need to be removed from the Guard." pic.twitter.com/iqnWtHzQLt
— The Hill (@thehill) January 19, 2021
The screenings are designed to weed out members of the National Guard who might be planning to launch an attack during the ceremony. Some fear that an insider might attempt to assassinate Biden or Kamala Harris. (See: U.S. Defense Officials Fear Insider Attack From National Guard Service Members Ahead of Inauguration)
Service members are being screened to determine if they have certain political views that the authorities would deem to be dangerous. They are also being vetted to ensure they do not have any ties to extremism or other problematic groups.
Yet, the vetting being conducted seems like overkill given that service members are already screened before and after they enlist. The Associated Press acknowledged that “while the military routinely reviews service members for extremist connections, the FBI screening is in addition to any previous monitoring.”
The AP also indicated that soldiers who support Trump could be viewed with a level of suspicion. The outlet stated that “threats against Biden’s inauguration” have been “fueled by supporters of President Donald Trump, far-right militants, white supremacists and other radical groups.”
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy on Sunday indicated that “officials are conscious of the potential threat, and he warned commanders to be on the lookout for any problems within their ranks as the inauguration approaches,” and that they“say they have seen no evidence of any threats, and officials said the vetting hadn’t flagged any issues that they were aware of.”
The left has been using the riots at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6 as a political weapon against the right. Activist media outlets have falsely intimated that conservatives who support Trump are in favor of political violence, some even directly accusing Trump voters of being complicit in his supposed wrongdoing.
After the riots, a certain level of caution is warranted. Yet, the push for vetting every National Guard member tasked with maintaining safety at the inauguration seems to be excessive. If troops are already “routinely” screened for ties to pernicious elements, what’s with the extra scrutiny on people who have sworn to defend the country?
I’ll be blunt: This reeks of political theater. It looks too much like an attempt at fearmongering to take it fully seriously, doesn’t it? By employing extra screening procedures and all but admitting that they are targeting Trump supporters, it seems that they are doing this more to send a message than anything else.
To be fair, it is possible that Defense Department officials are acting out of an abundance of caution. Still, regardless of their intentions, it is clear that this is yet another arrow in the activist media’s quiver; it is another opportunity to lambast the right and paint them as extremist whackos who thought Jan. 6 was 1776 all over again.
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