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Missouri to send National Guard troops to Washington, DC

Missouri will send 300 of its National Guard troops to Washington, D.C., Thursday in response to civil unrest that has broken out during protests, Gov. Mike Parson said. 

More than 3,000 National Guard troops from across the country have already been deployed to Washington, D.C., defense officials told CNN earlier this week.

Washington, D.C., like elsewhere in the country, has seen massive demonstrations as people rally in support of George Floyd, the black Minneapolis man killed by an officer in late May, and denounce police brutality. And while the majority of those protesting have done so peacefully, looting and violence have occurred in some places, generally after nightfall.

Parson said Missouri has received a request to send troops to the nation’s capital and will be complying “in the next day or so.” 

“All of our jobs — no matter what state you’re in, no matter who the president is — protecting Washington, D.C., protecting the monuments, protecting our history of who we are should be important to every citizen,” Parson said in response to a question from The Missouri Times Wednesday. “We’ve got to maintain that law and order so, yeah, we’re willing to help to preserve that.” 

As this was a federal request, the deployment will be funded at the federal level, not by Missouri’s General Revenue budget, Parson said.

Parson activated the Missouri National Guard over the weekend to help with protests, looting, and violence in the state. So far, more than 1,000 Guardsmen are deployed across Missouri to support local law enforcement agencies and do have the ability to make arrests, Parson said.

The governor said he expects up to 2,000 troops could be activated in Missouri within the “next several days.”

An additional 1,000 troops have been deployed around the state to assist with the ongoing health crisis.

In a “law and order” speech Tuesday — which underscored recent rhetoric from President Donald Trump — Parson vowed to use “every resource” available to crack down on violence and destruction of property during the civil unrest. And Missouri, he charged, will be the state to end further violence amid escalating tensions. 

“I’ve called out the National Guard, and we’re going to strengthen up the National Guard,” Parson told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “We’re not going to have police officers, we’re not going to have the citizens of Missouri being shot in our streets in this state.” 

Trump has levied charges to governors and mayors, instructing them to be forceful and heavy-handed when dealing with rioters. And at times, he’s been harsh on the governors themselves for their handling of violent outbreaks. 

The Republican president implored governors to deploy the National Guard “in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets.” He vowed to send the U.S. military should “a city or state [refuse] to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents.” 

Parson told reporters the U.S. military was not needed as of yet in Missouri, placing his confidence in the Missouri National Guard. 

Cameron Gerber contributed to this report.

This story has been updated. It was originally published June 3.