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Gov. Carney declined to send Delaware National Guard to Washington, D.C.

Capt. Brendan Mackie
A Delaware National Guardsman directs traffic during a drive-thru coronavirus testing mission in Newark Saturday

The Federal Government apparently requested the Delaware National Guard to assist with response to protests in Washington, D.C., Monday. Gov. John Carney declined, say his spokesperson, Jonathan Starkey.

Peaceful protesters in Washington were tear-gassed by U.S. Park Police and National Guard troops Monday to clear the way for President Donald Trump’s photo-op at St. John's Episcopal Church. 

Starkey says the mission of the guardsmen and women in Washington was not clear. He says the Governor was “not comfortable” sending the Delaware National Guard because it would take away from their ability to respond to issues such as the coronavirus in Delaware—and the “rhetoric out of the White House seemed like it had the potential to provoke additional unrest.”

Carney's team also spoke with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office, and her office did not request additional assistance, according to Starkey.

Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings released a statement Tuesday morning condemning the treatment of protesters near St. John’s Church.


“That lawful Americans suffered this kind of brutality is bad enough,” she said. “That it appears to have been planned for a photo op is beyond the pale. The president’s actions affirmed many demonstrators’ fears: that a fragile authoritarian will endanger your life for no apparent reason except to salve his own insecurities.”

Jennings also expressed support for the protests. 

“People across the country are using their voices legitimately, justifiably, and peacefully,” she said. “We are at a crossroads and we can choose to be our best selves—a nation that, confronted with its sins, listens to its neighbors and is moved to work together to atone and heal—or we can reprise the worst moments in history and violently crush dissent. It is painfully clear which path the president has chosen.”


Starkey says Carney “takes his job as commander-in-chief of the Delaware National Guard extremely seriously,” and always considers requests for Guard assistance from other jurisdictions. 


In recent years, the Delaware National Guard has helped residents of Texas, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico with natural disasters. 

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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