ST. PAUL — More than 130 Minnesota National Guard troops will be sent to Washington, D.C., for a previously announced mission centered on President-elect Joe Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration.
Guard service members from across the country are being called to the nation's capital in anticipation of an armed protest such as the one Jan. 6 that devolved into a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. The Minnesota National Guard was asked for its support over the weekend.
It was announced Tuesday, Jan. 13, that soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard's Bravo Troop, 1-94th Cavalry Squadron and airmen from its 148th Fighter Wing would be tasked with the assignment.
"Every four years National Guardsmen from throughout the country are called to assist local units supporting the inauguration," Minnesota National Guard Director of Operations Colonel Scott Rohweder said in a statement. "We are proud and ready to serve the nation at this historic event."
That the Guard would support a security mission in D.C. on or near Inauguration Day is not without precedent. Rohweder said in a statement that the Minnesota National Guard has in the past sent "sent as few as zero and as many as 350 Guardsmen" to help secure inauguration proceedings.
Unlike past inaugurations, however, Biden's could be protested by armed individuals supportive of President Donald Trump, who falsely attributes his loss in the 2020 election to bogus claims of fraud. Believers of his claims protested Congress' formal certification of Biden's win last week at a protest Trump spoke at before forcing their way into the Capitol Building.
Armed follow-up demonstrations are being planned in D.C. as well as in capitals of all 50 states, Reuters previously reported. The FBI warns that state capitals could be targeted between Jan. 16 and Jan. 20, while protests in D.C. could begin in the three days leading up to Inauguration Day, when Biden will be sworn into office.
Up to 15,000 National Guard troops could be deployed to D.C. for the Inauguration Day mission, National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Daniel Hokanson said last week.
Minnesota National Guard troops also will deploy to the Minnesota Capitol complex in St. Paul, which the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports is now the target of far-right extremist threats. Gov. Tim Walz is expected to issue an executive order authorizing that deployment Wednesday, Jan. 13.