D.C. National Guard Chief Fired Days Before Trump Inauguration: "The Timing Is Extremely Unusual"
13 January, 2017
"It doesn’t make sense to can the general in the middle of an active deployment," rages D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) after Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz, who heads the D.C. National Guard and is an integral part of overseeing the inauguration, has been ordered removed from command effective Jan. 20, 12:01 p.m., just as Donald Trump is sworn in as president.
“The timing is extremely unusual,” Schwartz said in an interview Friday morning, confirming a memo announcing his ouster that was obtained by The Washington Post.
During the inauguration, Schwartz would command not only the members of the D.C. guard but also an additional 5,000 unarmed troops sent in from across the country to help. He also would oversee military air support protecting the nation’s capital during the inauguration.
“My troops will be on the street,” Schwartz, who turned 65 in October, said, “I’ll see them off but I won’t be able to welcome them back to the armory.” He said that he would “never plan to leave a mission in the middle of a battle.”
Schwartz, who was appointed to head the guard by President George W. Bush in 2008, maintained the position through President Obama’s two terms. He said his orders came from the Pentagon but that he doesn’t know who made the decision.
D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) blasted the decision to remove Schwartz, especially on Inauguration Day.
“It doesn’t make sense to can the general in the middle of an active deployment,” Mendelson said. He added that Schwartz’s sudden departure would be a long-term loss for the District. “He’s been really very good at working with the community and my impression was that he was good for the Guard.”
Schwartz said that he has not been told why he was asked to step down. “I’m a soldier,” he said, noting that he was following orders and has no regrets. “I’m a presidential appointee, therefore the president has the power to remove me.”
Thousands of activists, journalists, scientists, entertainers, and other prominent voices took out a full-page call to action in the New York Times on Wednesday making clear their rejection of President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence with the simple message: “No!”
“Stop the Trump/Pence regime before it starts! In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America!” the ad states, followed by a list of signatories that includes scholar Cornel West; author Alice Walker; Chase Iron Eyes of the Standing Rock Sioux; educator Bill Ayers; poet Saul Williams; CNN‘s Marc Lamont Hill; Carl Dix of the Communist Party USA; and numerous others.
Trump promises to inflict repression and suffering on people in this country, to deport millions, to increase violence up to the use of nuclear weapons on people across the globe, and to inflict catastrophes upon the planet itself. He has assembled a cabinet of Christian fundamentalist fanatics, war mongers, racists, science deniers. NO! His regime must not be allowed to consolidate. We REFUSE to accept a Fascist America!
“We are planning to shut down the inauguration, that’s the short of it,” he says. “We’re pretty literal about that, we are trying to create citywide paralysis on a level that I don’t think has been seen in D.C. before. We’re trying to shut down pretty much every ingress into the city as well as every checkpoint around the actual inauguration parade route.”
Carrefour says DisruptJ20 has no publicly announced plans to jump barricades along the inauguration parade route or throw projectiles at the new president, but that autonomous direct actions are encouraged.
“I can’t comment on specific stuff we’re doing like that, mostly because that would be illegal. But, yeah, it will get pretty crazy, I expect,” he says. “‘Have fun!’ I say.”
Filmmaker and liberal icon Michael Moore has announced his plans to attend the Women’s March on Washington to protest Donald Trump’s inauguration later this month and has called for sore loser liberals to go further — by staging protests acts of resistance through the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency.
In an appearance, this weekend on MSNBC’s The Last Word, the 62-year-old Trumpland and Fahrenheit 9/11 director made a “call to arms” to those opposed to Trump’s presidency to join the Women’s March on Washington scheduled for January 21, the day after the presidential inauguration.
“It’s important that everybody go there,” Moore told MSNBC’s Ari Melber.