GOP Doubles Down on Claim Pelosi Rejected National Guard Before Jan. 6 Riot

House Republican leaders on Thursday repeated debunked claims that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected an offer for the National Guard to be sent to the U.S. Capitol in the lead-up to the attacks of January 6, 2021.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California was joined by fellow Republican representatives Jim Banks of Indiana and Elise Stefanik of New York and by House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana during a news conference. The lawmakers held the conference to discuss the upcoming public hearing by the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot, scheduled for Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET.

The representatives all spoke on how they felt the committee was a political attack on Republicans and a distraction from other national issues. Banks and McCarthy also brought up a claim made by former President Donald Trump that Pelosi rejected an offer he had made to her about sending the National Guard to the Capitol to prepare for possible protests on January 6.

Trump made the claim about the extra security at the Capitol on Fox News more than a month after the attacks.

"I definitely gave the number of 10,000 National Guardsmen, and [said] I think you should have 10,000 of the National Guard ready," Trump told the news channel during a February 28, 2021, interview. "They took that number. From what I understand, they gave it to the people at the Capitol, which is controlled by Pelosi. And I heard they rejected it because they didn't think it would look good. So, you know, that was a big mistake."

USA Today reported in December that Trump once again made the claim during a Florida rally that month. The newspaper wrote that a video shared on Facebook showed Trump speaking about the National Guard suggestion, saying, "The Capitol police knew about it, she [Pelosi] knew about it, and they turned it down because they said it didn't look good."

Kevin McCarthy speaks to the press
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Indiana Representative Jim Banks repeated a debunked claim on Thursday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected help from the National Guard prior to the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. In this photo, McCarthy is seen during a news conference on Capitol Hill on May 23, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Getty Images

The Washington Post and USA Today have both debunked Trump's claim. USA Today wrote that Pelosi's office was never contacted by the president regarding such a recommendation, and the Pentagon has denied having record of the request. Additionally, the Department of Defense's timeline of the events leading up to the Capitol riot also makes no mention of a National Guard request, and the former House sergeant-at-arms said he had no discussions with congressional leaders about the matter, according to USA Today.

Jim Banks was the first to make the allegation during Thursday's news conference. He said one question that should be asked about the events of January 6 is if Pelosi was "involved in the decision to delay National Guard assistance on January 6."

McCarthy also brought up the accusation later when taking questions from reporters.

"People were warned ahead of time," McCarthy said of the riot, adding that there was "an offering of National Guard. We'd like to know...why they weren't there."

Newsweek reached out to Pelosi, McCarthy and Banks for comment.