Gov. Ron DeSantis refused to send Florida National Guard members to Washington, D.C. to participate in a security detail for President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address. The troops were requested in advance of protests expected to take place in response to Biden’s speech on March 1.
According to a spokesperson from the Governor’s office, on Feb. 23, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Director of Military Support (DOMS) sent requests to all state governors asking them to send National Guard personnel to the District of Columbia (DC) to prepare for anticipated “First Amendment protests” there.
Guard members were expected to be stationed in DC for an unspecified period of time.
According to a spokesperson from DeSantis’ office, the DOMS request did not explain why National Guard members would be needed since security for politicians has long been provided by US Capitol Police and Secret Service personnel.
“In past years, states did not send National Guard troops to DC for the State of the Union,” the spokesperson said. “The National Guard should never be misused for political purposes or regime propaganda spectacles.”
Biden’s speech took place while controversy swirled around the administration’s immigration and economic policies, and amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.