In the weeks since a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has gone over-the-top with security “theater” that, in addition to fencing and National Guard troops, also included a shake-up in security.
After the House’s former sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving resigned in the wake of the January unrest, Pelosi has now named a replacement for the role: Maj. Gen. William Walker, who currently serves as commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, the Associated Press reports.
According to Fox News, Pelosi’s decision to tap Walker for the role was met with approval by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who said the D.C. National Guard chief “epitomizes the term public servant.”
“After getting an opportunity to speak with Major General William Walker personally at the Speaker’s request, I am confident he possesses the experience, skill set, and vision needed to run the expansive responsibilities of the Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms,” the minority leader added in a statement, according to Fox.
A historic appointment
In a press release put out by her office, Pelosi said Walker “has proven to be a leader of great integrity and experience who will bring his steady and patriotic leadership to this vital role.”
The speaker also pointed to the “historic” nature of his appointment “as the first Black American to serve” as House sergeant-at-arms, something Pelosi called “an important step forward for this institution and our nation.”
“His experience will be an important asset to the House, particularly in light of the January 6 insurrection,” Pelosi said of Walker. “It is essential that we work to strengthen our institution and keep our Capitol community, and all who visit, safe.”
McCarthy to Pelosi: Tear down this fence
But while McCarthy largely agrees that Walker is fit for the task, the Republican leader in the House still isn’t happy with the way Pelosi has handled security at the Capitol in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot.
“It was welcome news when a week ago the barricades around the Capitol complex started to come down,” McCarthy said in his statement. “Without credible security threats, we can no longer justify keeping this institution closed off to the American people whose tax dollars not only fund Congress, but as citizens also deserve access to their legislative chambers.”
He went on: “Our goal should be to continue this path to fully reopening by allowing our National Guard troops to return home and taking down the remaining barriers.”
In the meantime, Walker has continued to receive accolades from both sides of the political aisle, as the AP reports.
His appointment comes as both chambers of Congress continue to investigate the January unrest, including the led up to it and the subsequent federal and local law enforcement response.