The Democratic mayor of Washington, D.C., penned a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that he "withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence" from the city.
Muriel Bowser added in her letter, dated Thursday, that since the city's curfew and state of emergency are over — and protesters have been "peaceful," and the city is "well equipped to handle large demonstrations and First Amendment activities" — the troops are no longer needed.
Bowser also said she's "concerned that unidentified federal personnel patrolling the streets ... pose both safety and national security risks" — and that they're "inflaming demonstrators and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and for reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing black Americans."
She also said when federal personnel mix with city police, it "can breed dangerous confusion such as when helicopters are used in a war-like tactic to frighten and disperse peaceful protesters."
Kicking out the National Guard from hotels?
In addition, there have been rumblings that Bowser was canceling hotel accommodations for members of the Utah National Guard, which set off Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham:
If media reports are accurate, the decision by the Mayor of DC to cancel hotel accommodations for members of the Ut… https://t.co/IDsJI6boja— Lindsey Graham (@Lindsey Graham) 1591363682.0
Graham, of South Carolina, added in subsequent tweets that "I will do everything possible to push back against this outrage against the men and women of our National Guard. They left their homes and businesses in Utah to protect homes and businesses in our nation's Capital. The Mayor of D.C. should thank them — not evict them!"
He also said, "Federal taxpayer dollars come from all 50 states to help D.C. Why should we continue to provide federal funding to an entity who refuses to allow lawfully assembled National Guardsmen a place to sleep?"
Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah was similarly outraged, noting that "more than 1,200 troops from 10 states are being evicted. This is unacceptable."
How did Bowser respond?
Bowser answered Lee in a tweet of her own:
Senator — until they are recalled home — which I have formally requested from the President, your troops are in DC… https://t.co/9oDzLHg9M7— Muriel Bowser #StayHomeDC (@Muriel Bowser #StayHomeDC) 1591367468.0
"Senator — until they are recalled home — which I have formally requested from the President, your troops are in D.C. hotels," she wrote. "However, D.C. residents cannot pay their hotel bills. The Army can clear that up with the hotel today, and we are willing to help."
'Keep in mind that that's the people's house'
Bowser on Thursday criticized the placement of additional fencing and barriers around the White House amid protesting and rioting, saying "keep in mind that that's the people's house."
"It's a sad commentary that the house and its inhabitants have to be walled off," she added. "I think that's a sad commentary. We should want the White House opened up for people to be able to access it from all sides."