President Donald Trump announced Sunday he will remove National Guard troops from D.C. as peaceful demonstrations relax tensions between protesters and law enforcement.
Trump said in a tweet that he ordered the National Guard to start withdrawing troops from the District after “far fewer” people than he expected participated in D.C. protests Saturday night. The announcement follows a feud between the president and Mayor Muriel Bowser, who pressured Trump in a letter Thursday to “immediately” remove federal law enforcement from the District.
“I have just given an order for our National Guard to start the process of withdrawing from Washington, D.C. now that everything is under perfect control,” Trump said in the tweet. “They will be going home, but can quickly return, if needed.”
Trump’s decision to remove the National Guard from D.C. came amid continued citywide protests over police brutality and the killing of George Floyd, a day after the city saw more than 10,000 people demonstrate without law enforcement restrictions like curfews, according to the Washington Post.
Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said all out-of-state National Guardsmen will evacuate D.C. within 72 hours, DCist reported. Major General William J. Walker, the commanding general of D.C.’s National Guard said 5,240 National Guardsmen were on duty in the city, guarding landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial and patrolling streets alongside protesters, according to DCist.
The Department of Defense disarmed National Guardsmen in D.C. Friday after Bowser’s letter reached the president in addition to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who also stationed National Guard troops in the city. Bowser initially activated the National Guard last week to assist the Metropolitan Police Department in controlling protests that turned violent.
Protests have continued for 10 days, but demonstrations have remained peaceful, quelling tensions that prompted the president to consider overtaking the MPD’s police force and ramping up federal law enforcement presence in the city. Bowser said in her letter that MPD did not make a single arrest Thursday, a sign that D.C.’s protests no longer required oversight from federal officers.