PA National Guard called to Capitol

National Guard troops man the grounds outside the U.S. Capitol a day after hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump occupied the Capitol.
REUTERS/Erin Scott

Members of the Pennsylvania National Guard are preparing to head to Washington, D.C., after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol.

Gov. Tom Wolf said Thursday that about 1,000 guard members have been told to report to their local armories to receive instructions. They will remain in D.C. through President-Elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration to support local authorities.

New Jersey has activated 500 members of its National Guard, and it deployed 50 state troopers to the Capitol on Wednesday, Gov. Phil Murphy said.

“The unprecedented and disturbing events yesterday in our nation’s capital are cause for ongoing concern and Pennsylvania is prepared to assist as needed in securing peace and an orderly transfer of power,” Wolf said in a statement.

Philadelphia officials on Wednesday activated the city’s Emergency Operations Center while saying that there had been “no specific threats.”

At least a dozen people from Pennsylvania were arrested, mostly for curfew violations, during the unrest that erupted Wednesday as Congress was meeting to ratify the Electoral College results, according to police in D.C.

Among those in the region who were apprehended were Terry Brown, of Myerstown, Lebanon County, and Leonard Guthrie, of Cape May, New Jersey. Both were expected to face charges of unlawful entry, according to Capitol Police.

Four people died during the chaos, including 50-year-old Benjamin Phillips, of Ringtown, Schuylkill County, who suffered a medical emergency, D.C. police said.

Calls for Trump to be ousted in the final days of his presidency grew Thursday, with U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, who represents Philadelphia, indicating he would be among the first to sponsor an impeachment resolution.

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, the only GOP representative from Pennsylvania who didn’t sign on to an effort to object to the state’s election results, said the Capitol siege was “nothing short of a coup attempt.”

“The President of the United States has been lying to his supporters with false information and false expectations. He lit the flame of incitement and owns responsibility for this,” tweeted Fitzpatrick, whose district covers Bucks County.

Brendan Boyle, a Democratic House member from Philadelphia, said the day’s events were “the culmination of what this president preached about on his Inauguration Day four years ago,” when Trump spoke about “American carnage.”

Congress stayed up until the wee hours of the morning before finally ratifying Biden’s victory early Thursday.

Trump has consistently maintained, without evidence, that the results in several swing states, including Pennsylvania, were tainted to steal the election from him.

Philadelphia and other large cities have repeatedly come under fire. City Commissioner Lisa Deeley, who chairs the three-person board overseeing the city’s elections, suggested that lawmakers who contested the state’s results have “blood on their hands.”

She also called for Trump to be removed immediately by his cabinet through the 25th Amendment.

“The loss of his election has clearly detached President Trump from reality and has distracted him from his duties as leader of the free world,” Deeley said in a statement.

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