Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, says he’s hearing that Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser plans to evict at least 1,200 National Guard troops from city hotels after she clashed with President Trump over the handling of George Floyd unrest in the city.
If the reports from his sources are true, he won’t be happy, Lee told “Fox News @ Night.”
“I find this very strange,” Lee said. “They [the soldiers] came here at the request of their country and now, in the middle of it, in the middle of a deployment, in the middle of their fourth consecutive all-nighter, they’re being told they’re not welcome there. That is unpatriotic; that is unacceptable.”
Bowser has spoken out against the need for federal troops in the city.
“We are examining every legal question about the president’s authority to send troops, even National Guard, to the District of Columbia,” Bowser said during a Wednesday news conference. “Another way to put it is, does the president have the legal authority to request [National] Guard from other states? I have the authority to request guards from other states.”
Bowser told MSNBC earlier in the night that due to Washington, D.C.’s lack of statehood, the federal government can “encroach on our city streets in the name of protecting federal assets.”
“I think it’s unprecedented,” she said. She told host Rachel Maddow she was concerned with outside state troopers and federal police officers patroling without any identification. She did not mention anything about evicting soldiers during the interview. Bowser’s office and the National Guard did not immediately respond to after-hours emails from Fox News.
Lee said there are 200 specialists in the nation’s capital from his state. He said these young soldiers — with 10 hours notice — left their homes to protect the White House and other properties. He said many soldiers work overnight and will have to collect their belongings at 10 a.m. and find another place to stay. Lee did not identify his source.
Lee told Shannon Bream, the host, that he has worked in all three branches of the federal government and he has “never seen a situation like this.”
Heavily-armed federal officers in tactical gear have been on the district’s streets for days, after demonstrators set fires, broke store windows and stole items from the shelves and left police officers injured.
The Trump administration has made an effort to show the use of force in Washington. Hours before a 7 p.m. curfew on Tuesday, cars were being stopped at military checkpoints downtown, and a cavalry of armored military vehicles could be seen driving through the district.
Bowser said the administration had floated the idea of taking over the Metropolitan Police Department, a proposal she strongly rejected. She threatened to take legal action if the federal government attempted to do so.
Trump announced from the White House on Monday that if “a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”