The former chief of the U.S. Capitol Police says his requests for the deployment of the National Guard were dismissed by political and military officials.
U.S. Capitol Police chief Steven Sund said he pleaded with Pentagon and Congressional leaders to send reinforcements days before Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Jan. 6.
Security officials at the House of Representatives and Senate refused six requests to call in the National Guard, Sund said in his first public statements since resigned his post following calls from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Sund told The Washington Post he was alarmed by a pro-Trump demonstration number some 10,000 people and feared it may become something worse. "I am making an urgent, urgent immediate request for National Guard assistance," he told the Post. "I have got to get boots on the ground."
His requests were rejected by Army Staff director Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt who said he was worried about "bad optics," Sund told the newspaper.
"I don't like the visual of the National Guard standing a police line with the Capitol in the background," Piatt told Sund, the former police officer said, according to the Post. Piatt said he couldn't recommend Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy authorize deployment of the Guard.
Sund said House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving was also reluctant to mobilize the Guard for the same reason. Senate sergeant-at-arms Michael Stenger suggested the Guard be informally alerted in case it was required.
There was a three-hour delay before National Guards arrived at the Capitol Jan. 6. Scores of Capitol Police were injured during the riot and one was killed.
Both Irving and Stenger have resigned.
Sund's statement contradicts claims made by administration officials. Sund's superiors previously claimed the National Guard and other additional security support could have been provided but no one at the Capitol requested it.
Sund said the 1,400 Capitol Police contingent was overwhelmed by the mob estimated at 8,000.
"If we would have had the National Guard we could have held them at bay longer until more officers from our partner agencies could arrive," he said.
Sund said he asked Piatt to provide backup during a conference call with law-enforcement officials at about 2:26 p.m. Jan. 6.
Sund's account was corroborated by Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser's chief of staff John Falcicchio. "Literally, this guy is on the phone, I mean, crying out for help. It's burned in my memories," Falcicchio said.