That more than 26,000 troops have been positioned in Washington, D.C. to defend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden is mind-boggling. To think that one or more of those troops might consider harming members of the incoming administration is even more mind-boggling.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has vetted each member of the contingent sent to guard the nation's capital. That process includes running names through FBI databases and watch lists to see what might pop up.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told the Associated Press service members from across the military were at the January 6 rally before the U.S. Capitol Building was stormed. McCarthy said it's not clear how many of them may have participated in the breach of the Capitol. The AP reports, "So far, only a couple of current active-duty or National Guard members have been arrested in connection with the Capitol assault."

Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, has been meeting with and interviewing troops from all over the nation as they arrive in Washington. He told the AP, “If there’s any indication that any of our soldiers or airmen are expressing things that are extremist views, it’s either handed over to law enforcement or dealt with the chain of command immediately.” Could voting for Trump in November be considered extreme?

Hundreds of Massachusetts troops have been deployed to Washington to guard the city as part of the largest deployment of federal troops ever to the nation's capital. Every one of them has been questioned to gauge their loyalty. Their background has been thoroughly vetted, according to the FBI.

CBS DFW reports Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted that he is offended by the extreme vetting. “This is the most offensive thing I’ve ever heard,” Gov. Abbott tweeted. “No one should ever question the loyalty or professionalism of the Texas National Guard. I authorized more than 1,000 to go to DC. I’ll never do it again if they are disrespected like this.”

Abbott is right to be indignant of the treatment of National Guard units. These men and women have traveled great distances for little pay to defend their government. To question their loyalty is un-American. The Pentagon has turned the Capitol into a circus with no explanation for why all of this security is necessary. One has to wonder what all of this is really about.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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