Idaho Lt. Gov. Asks About Sending National Guard to Border, Gets Rebuffed by Commander

While Idaho's governor is in Texas for a meeting about border issues, the state's lieutenant governor asked about sending the National Gaurd to the U.S.-Mexico border, the Associated Press reported.

Janice McGeachin wrote a letter to Major General Michael J. Garshak, the commanding general of the Idaho National Guard, about activating troops following a discussion she had with her Texas counterpart.

"As of Wednesday, my constitutional authority as Governor affords me the power of activating the Idaho National Guard," she wrote in the letter obtained by AP. "As the Adjutant General, I am requesting information from you on the steps needed for the Governor to activate the National Guard."

Garshak dismissed the inquiry, saying he was "unaware of any request for Idaho National Guard assistance under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) from Texas or Arizona."

"As you are aware, the Idaho National Guard is not a law enforcement agency," he wrote to McGeachin.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Janice McGeachin Mask Mandate
The commander of the Idaho National Guard rejected Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin's request to send troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. Above, McGeachin speaks during a mask burning event at the Idaho Statehouse on March 6, 2021, in Boise. Nathan Howard/Getty Images

The maneuvering of Idaho's top leaders came while Brad Little was in Texas meeting with nine other Republican governors over concerns on how President Joe Biden is handling border issues. McGeachin, a far-right Republican, is running for governor. In Idaho, the governor and lieutenant governor don't run on the same ticket.

Little in June sent a team of Idaho State Police troopers to the border to help with intelligence gathering and investigative work to stop drugs from coming across the border.

Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas and Republican Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona had requested the help under the EMAC that empowers states to help other states in times of disasters or emergencies.

"On Sept 24, I spoke to my counterpart in Texas, Lt Gov. Dan Patrick's office, and they affirmed the need for additional resources in helping the situation on our southern border," McGeachin wrote to Garshak.

McGeachin's office on Tuesday didn't respond to a request for comment.

"Attempting to deploy our National Guard for political grandstanding is an affront to the Idaho constitution and insults the men and women who have dedicated their life to serving our state and the country," Little said in a statement.

McGeachin also issued an executive order involving COVID-19 vaccines.

Oh, no you don't, said Little, who promised to rescind it in quick order.

McGeachin's executive order issued Tuesday afternoon seeks, among other things, to prevent employers from requiring their employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. Most mainstream Republicans prefer to stay out of the employee-employer relationship.

"I am in Texas performing my duties as the duly elected Governor of Idaho, and I have not authorized the Lt. Governor to act on my behalf," Little said in a statement shortly after arriving in Texas on Tuesday. "I will be rescinding and reversing any actions taken by the Lt. Governor when I return."

In May when Little was out of state, she issued an executive order banning mask mandates that Little eliminated when he returned, saying mask mandate decisions were best left to local officials. Little has never issued a mask mandate.

Little was expected to be back in the state Wednesday evening.

Janice McGeachin
The commanding general of the Idaho National Guard told Idaho Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin that she could not activate troops to send to the U.S.-Mexico border. Above, McGeachin addresses a rally on the Statehouse steps in Boise on September 15, 2021. Keith Ridler/AP Photo