ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland is doubling the number of Maryland National Guard troops available to help protect Washington ahead of the presidential inauguration to 1,000, Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday.
Hogan said there are ongoing discussions about securing the nation’s capital after last week’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.
“We have a formal request, which we’ve agreed to, to go from 500 members of Maryland National Guard to 1,000 members of the Maryland National Guard in D.C.,” Hogan, a Republican, said at a news conference.
The governor said discussions include securing not just the area around the U.S. Capitol, but also the entire District of Columbia.
“Every federal and regional and local authority is working I think in a coordinated fashion and I think those are continuing to evolve and develop as we speak,” Hogan said.
Maryland sent National Guard members to Washington last week.
The governor said he participated in a security meeting on Monday and Tuesday with discussions including District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Hogan said plans are developing “on an hourly basis.”
“It’s getting more refined, lots of cooks in the kitchen and trying to make sure we can keep our nation’s capital safe,” Hogan said.
Hogan, who is planning to go to the Jan. 20 inauguration, said he feels safe to attend, along with other governors from both parties.
“We will be there to witness on behalf of our states the peaceful transition of power,” Hogan said.
The governor also discussed independent state plans to protect the Maryland State House and the grounds around it.
The FBI is warning of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington, in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.
Capitol Police, who protect the Maryland State House and its neighboring government buildings and grounds, are working with Annapolis police, Anne Arundel County police and the Maryland State Police, Hogan said.
“I’m comfortable, although I’m not sure what we may or may not see, that we’re going to be a lot better prepared than they were in Washington last Wednesday,” Hogan said, noting that “we do not have any credible detailed threats here.”
While Maryland was making 1,000 members of the National Guard available to protect Washington, he said Maryland still has a force that could be rapidly deployed to protect the state.
“I would strongly advise anyone not to come to the statehouse armed, and I think they would regret that if they did,” the governor said.