U.S. Vice President Mike Pence made an unscheduled visit to the U.S. Capitol late Thursday and thanked military troops guarding the facility for their service.
Pence talked to several soldiers and thanked them as a group for “stepping forward to provide security at our nation’s Capitol at such an important time in the life of our nation.” He told the soldiers it had been his great honor to serve as their vice president.
Several thousand National Guard troops have been stationed at the Capitol grounds since supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump stormed the building January 6 in an apparent effort to stop the Electoral College certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
Vice President Pence said he expects at least 20,000 total troops will be guarding the Capitol, along with other federal law enforcement agencies by the time Biden is sworn into office on January 20.
“We're going to deliver to the American people a safe inauguration, we're going to swear in a new president, a new vice president, we're going to move our nation forward,” he told the National Guard members Thursday.
It was Pence’s first visit to the Capitol since the riot. Pence was presiding over the certification process inside the Senate at the time of the siege and was forced to move to a safe location, unable to leave the Capitol until it was determined safe to do so.