Democratic Washington, D.C., Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton slammed the continued military presence and extensive fencing around the Capitol building in a Monday radio appearance.
“As you may have heard, on March 4, the House left early, because of a threat. You will note that nothing happened on March 4. Now we have a Congress afraid of its shadow,” Holmes Norton said on the March 8 episode of “Mornings on the Mall.”
“I don’t think there is the kind of threat that could keep us away from the Capitol, [justify] razor wire [around] the Capitol, or fencing around the Capitol. I believe that because the Capitol Police didn’t do their job on Jan. 6, any chatter that looks like there could be a crowd coming, even not a crowd, is all it takes to have them trying to do what they should have done on Jan. 6. That is why Congress itself has got to step in, so that, as you indicate, we don’t militarize our Capitol,” Holmes Norton said in response to a question from co-host Mary Walter about whether or not members of Congress have seen evidence of recent threats against the Capitol.
The House of Representatives canceled all scheduled votes and adjourned for the week on March 3, after Capitol Police said that it had intelligence suggesting militia violence at the Capitol on March 4. The Senate remained in session as scheduled, and no National Guardsmen or Capitol Police were forced to engage with protesters or rioters. (RELATED: Politics At Its Worst’: Congressman Doubts March 4 Capitol Attack, Says Send Troops Back Home ‘After Today’)
Holmes Norton has been a vocal opponent of the extensive security measures at the Capitol. She is sponsoring a bipartisan bill, alongside Republican North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd and Democratic New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, that prohibits federal funding of a permanent fence around the Capitol.
She has expressed worry about the impact an extensive deployment has on the members of the National Guard stationed at the Capitol and the broader DC community.
Idling not only risks the health of the drivers and troops, it also risks the health of my constituents in the neighborhoods surrounding the site.
See my press release for details: https://t.co/yKVTJP1PwN
— Eleanor #DCStatehood Holmes Norton (@EleanorNorton) March 3, 2021
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have already ordered their troops to return home over health and safety concerns, following reports that National Guard troops were forced to sleep in a parking garage. Hundreds of troops have tested positive for COVID-19 over the course of the Capitol deployment.