Arkansas Governor Downplays Threat of Violence on Inauguration Day, Won’t Bring in National Guard

Arkansas Governor Downplays Threat of Violence on Inauguration Day, Won’t Bring in National Guard

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said his office is monitoring the potential for violence, saying he does not feel the need to deploy the state’s National Guard to the state capitol in Little Rock.

The Republican governor told Fox News on Sunday: “You want to be overprepared versus underprepared because you never want to see a repeat of what we saw on January 6 in our nation’s capital.”

But he added that after monitoring the possibility for violence before or on Inauguration Day, “it’s not to the level that I’m bringing out the National Guard.”

Instead of deploying Guard members, Hutchinson said he would instead opt to use “civilian law enforcement.” But he stressed that in Little Rock, there will be an increased presence of police.

“We don’t have any specific intelligence that there’s going to be violence associated with those rallies but we want to be extra cautious,” he continued. “Every state has to look at their own intelligence matrix and make those kind of judgments.”

Hutchinson noted that “there is a historic threat from militia groups” as well as neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups in Arkansas, adding that it has “been diminished, but I’d say most states have elements of that threat, it exists in Arkansas as well.”

U.S. Army officials said that more than 25,000 National Guard members will be deployed across D.C. for Inauguration Day next week.

National Guard soldiers maintain a watch over the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 14, 2021. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

The Defense Department authorized up to 25,000 service members to be deployed, which is an increase of 5,000 from numbers earlier this week.

A statement from the Army to news outlets on Friday said the increase would support the “federal law enforcement mission and security preparations” during the inauguration, and it would be led by the U.S. Secret Service.

“Our National Guard soldiers and airmen are set around the city to protect our nation’s Capital,” National Guard Bureau Chief Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson remarked.

On Jan. 13, President Donald Trump reiterated that Americans shouldn’t engage in violence or lawlessness.

“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking, and NO vandalism of any kind,” Trump said. “That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You.”

According to photos and videos from the scene, the Capitol is fortified with miles of fencing and other barriers.

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser previously told Americans to stay home and watch the Inauguration online.

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