Video of National Guard Troops in DC Shows Protocol, Not Protest

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National Guard airmen during the 59th Presidential Inauguration.
National Guard airmen observe a military parade during the 59th Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Bryan Myhr/U.S. Air Force)

WASHINGTON – A widely shared YouTube clip that claims to reveal National Guard members in Washington turning their backs to President Joe Biden’s motorcade really showed standard protocol, a spokeswoman for the National Guard said.

The 21-second video, titled "Military turns backs to Joe Biden’s motorcade," was uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday. It shows groups of guard members standing at attention, some facing toward the street where Biden passed after his inauguration, and others facing away from it.

The video was viewed more than 150,000 times as of Friday morning, had nearly 4,000 likes and generated more than 1,000 comments. Many of the commenters believed the troops were turning their backs on the president out of protest.

Capt. Tinashe Machona, a spokeswoman for the DC National Guard, said the troops were purposefully positioned that way to ensure the new president’s safety.

"These National Guardsmen were on duty with a mission to protect the president against potential threats," she said. "Some are facing out to ensure the safety of all."

The person who uploaded the video later acknowledged the misleading nature of the clip and added under its description: "In hindsight, I would’ve been slightly more careful with the title."

About 26,000 National Guard members were on the scene Wednesday as Biden was sworn into office. They manned checkpoints and stood posts around the Capitol grounds, the National Mall and the White House.

The heightened security came in response to the deadly riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, when supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the building.

There were no protests or violence during the inauguration, and thousands of the troops sent to Washington are expected to end their mission within the next 10 days.

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