The Hawaii National Guard began deploying 200 troops to Washington, D.C., on Thursday to help with security for next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The guardsmen will assist law enforcement amid fears of more violence after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
“The Hawaii National Guard is prepared to support the effort in Washington, D.C., to ensure a peaceful transition of power and a smooth Inauguration Day following a free and fair election. I thank our Guard members for their dedication to protecting our democracy during these challenging times,” Gov. David Ige said.
This week Hawaii Reps. Ed Case and Kai Kahele voted to impeach Trump after the president held a rally that prompted his supporters to storm the halls of Congress in a bid to overturn the election results. Five people died.
Several rioters shouted “hang Mike Pence” after the vice president refused to block the official certification of the election results that was scheduled that day.
Federal authorities have arrested dozens of people involved, including Hawaii Proud Boys founder Nick Ochs.
The military plans for about 20,000 National Guardsmen to be in D.C. for the inauguration, roughly four times the amount of U.S. troops currently in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Most of Hawaii’s 4,000 guardsmen will remain in the islands to respond to potential local disasters, including roughly 800 who have been assigned to help with COVID-19 operations, according to the press release.
Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, Hawaii’s adjutant general, said soldiers began reporting to Washington, D.C. on Thursday, a day after the Guard received the request for help.
Sign up for our FREE morning newsletter and face each day more informed.
Not a subscription
Civil Beat is a small nonprofit newsroom, and we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content because we believe in journalism as a public service.
That’s why donations from readers like you are essential to our continued existence.
Help keep our journalism free for all readers by becoming a monthly member of Civil Beat today.
Kevin Knodell reported on the military and veterans for Civil Beat as a corps member for Report For America, a national nonprofit that places journalists in local newsrooms to cover underreported topics.