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President Donald Trump’s decision to deploy the National Guard to quell Black Lives Matter protests in the nation’s capital has cost U.S. taxpayers about $21 million as of this past Friday, a spokesperson for the guard told The Daily Beast.
That projected cost includes the deployment of the guard to the District from 12 different states, the spokesperson said. The official mission, the spokesperson said, was “to support the D.C. civil unrest operations.”
About $18.2 million of the total cost of the operation was dedicated to pay and allowance for the guard and about $2.9 million went to operations and management, which included transportation and lodging. The total estimated tally does not include costs for aircraft that were used to transport guard personnel from supporting states to D.C. It also doesn’t account for the other various law enforcement units that were dispatched to the capital to deal with the protests that erupted after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. According to Attorney General Bill Barr, “all the major law-enforcement components” of the Department of Justice were involved in operations in D.C., “including the FBI, ATF, DEA, Bureau of Prisons, and U.S. Marshals Service.”
Reuters previously reported that it cost up to $2.6 million per day for 5,000 National Guard troops to assist in the federal response to the protests in D.C.
According to an ongoing Daily Beast analysis, the $21 million cost for D.C. represents one of the highest price points out of all the states that chose to deploy National Guard troops during the protests. Other states deployed their guardsman within their borders to deal with their own protests. California spent an estimated $25 million. Minnesota, which was the epicenter of the early protests, spent about $12.7 million in total to deploy guard troops.
Trump has come under intense criticism for his decision to deploy overwhelming force in the capital as a means of counteracting protestors. The president has defended his actions on the grounds that he was trying to stop looting and vandalism. But his decision to militarize the operation and his use of law enforcement personnel to effectively stage a photo op outside the White House has been chastised among Democrats and Republicans alike.