Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio suggested Wednesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been responsible for the security presence at the US Capitol on January 6, after Pelosi rejected his appointment to serve on the select committee investigating the insurrection.
“Why wasn’t there a proper security presence at the Capitol that day,” Jordan asked at a news conference after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pulled all five members he had tapped for the committee in response to Pelosi rejecting two of them. The Ohio Republican added, “Only one person can answer that question. Only one. The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.”
Facts First: The Speaker of the House is not in charge of Capitol security. That’s the responsibility of the Capitol Police Board, which oversees the US Capitol Police and approves requests for National Guard assistance.
Jane L. Campbell, president and CEO of the US Capitol Historical Society, told CNN that “the Speaker of the House does not oversee security of the US Capitol, nor does this official oversee the Capitol Police Board.”
Pelosi also cannot unduly influence who is appointed to the Board, which consists of the House and Senate Sergeants at Arms, the Architect of the Capitol and the Chief of the Capitol Police. The Sergeants at Arms are elected and must be confirmed by their respective chambers and the Architect must be confirmed by both chambers of Congress.
And according to testimony from the former Capitol Police chief, Pelosi was not involved in the decisions made ahead of January 6 regarding the National Guard. In his testimony before the Senate in February, former US Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said that he approached both Sergeants at Arms on the House and Senate side on January 4 to request the National Guard through an Emergency Declaration from the Capitol Police Board.
His request, according to Sund, was not approved. Instead, the Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael C. Stenger “suggested I ask (the National Guard) how quickly we could get support if needed and to ‘lean forward’ in case we had to request assistance on January 6,” according to Sund’s testimony.
Following the events of January 6, the US Capitol Police announced it was working “with Congressional oversight and the Capitol Police Board to obtain the authority to immediately request National Guard assistance if needed without having to wait for board approval.”