Commander of the Washington D.C. National Guard, Major General William Walker, testified before Congress on Wednesday that it took more than three hours for former President Donald Trump and his Department of Defense to mobilize the National Guard against rioters on January 6.

Walker told Congress that a unit of soldiers were waiting idly for hours while the Capitol building was being stormed by rioters. The Major General confirmed earlier reports when he told Congress that his troops held off as first because the Defense Department considered uniformed soldiers on the Capitol complex to be “bad optics.”

“At 1:49 p.m., I received a frantic call from then-chief of U.S. Capitol Police, Steven Sund, where he informed me that the security perimeter at the Capitol had been breached by hostile rioters,” Walker told Congress. “Chief Sund, his voice cracking with emotion, indicated that there was a dire emergency on Capitol Hill and requested the immediate assistance of as many guardsmen as I could muster.”

Walker then “immediately” told senior leadership of military about Sund’s request, but he did not get a response until “three hours and nineteen minutes later.” Realizing the severity of the riot, Walker slowly moved his troops closer to the Capitol building, but could not deploy them until authorized.

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“We already had guardsmen on buses ready to move to the Capitol. Consequently, at 5:20 p.m, the District of Columbia National Guard arrived at the Capitol. We helped to reestablish the security perimeter at the east side of the Capitol to facilitate the resumption of the joint session of Congress,” he said.

Walker told Congress that Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt and Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn were specifically concerned about the optics of deploying soldiers to the Capitol. Walker says the two Lieutenants General told him, “It wouldn’t be their best military advice to send uniformed guardsmen to the Capitol because they didn’t like the optics. And they had also said that it could ‘inflame’ [the protesters].”

Pentagon leadership initially falsely told reporters that Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn had no input on conversations during the Capitol insurrection and had no input on troop deployment.

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