FACT CHECK: Viral Post Claims The Marine Corps Refused Nancy Pelosi’s Request For Troops For Inauguration Security
A viral Facebook post shared over 500 times claims Gen. David Berger, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, refused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request for 5,000 troops to help “safeguard Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration from Trump supporters and insurrectionists.”
There is no evidence Berger rebuked such a request from Pelosi. Spokespeople for the Marine Corps and Pelosi’s office have refuted the story’s claims.
The post features text from an article published by the website Real Raw News that alleges Berger denied Pelosi’s request for Marines to help with Inauguration Day security and prevent a second storming of the U.S. Capitol, saying, “We don’t work for you!” The Real Raw News article cites an alleged “Pentagon source speaking under promise of anonymity” as its source.
“I answer only to the president, and as I understand it, Donald J. Trump is still president and commander-in-chief. I abide in the Constitution as it was written, not your interpretation of it,” the article quotes Berger as telling Pelosi. It later goes on to quote Berger as saying, “If you want us to help combat his supporters, I suggest you get him on the phone and tell him that. If he orders me to, I will. Otherwise, I suggest you listen really hard to the words escaping your cracked, poisonous lips; they’re tantamount to treason.”
Check Your Fact didn’t find any national media outlets reporting about the supposed exchange or Pelosi’s request for 5,000 Marines. Raw Real News has previously published misinformation, such as the claim that Delta Force raided a Ukrainian compound belonging to President-elect Joe Biden, according to fact-checking website Snopes.
Capt. Joseph Butterfield, a spokesperson for the Marine Corps, told Check Your Fact via email: “The story is entirely false. Every aspect of the article is a complete fabrication.” Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for Pelosi’s office, also told Reuters that the story is “false.” (RELATED: Does This Video Show Batman Arriving At The Capitol Riot?)
In a Jan. 12 joint statement to U.S. troops, Berger and the other top U.S. military leaders condemned the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, saying, “Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values, and oath; it is against the law.” The statement also said that President-elect Biden “will be inaugurated and will become our 46th Commander in Chief” on Jan. 20.
While there is no indication of such an exchange between Pelosi and Berger, Pelosi has, according to NBC News, asked retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré to lead a review of the U.S. Capitol’s security following the Jan. 6 riot. NPR also reported that Pelosi said she had “been in touch” with the secretary of the Army and head of the Secret Service regarding ensuring requests for inauguration security reinforcements from the Capitol Police are met.
The Secret Service officially took charge of inauguration security last week, CNN reported. Over 20,000 National Guardsmen are expected to be in Washington D.C., along with other federal and local law enforcement, to help bolster security for Biden’s inauguration, according to the Washington Post. A spokesperson for the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region told Reuters that Marines assigned to the task force units will be “solely providing ceremonial support.”
The U.S. Marine Band said in a statement Monday that it will “participate in the Inauguration of the President of the United States on Jan. 20, 2021” and provide “music for the inaugural ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.” The Marine Corps also posted a video of Marines preparing for the inauguration on its website, where they can be seen marching and wearing face masks.