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Ohio Governor Says National Guardsman ‘Expressed White Supremacist Ideology’ Online Prior to D.C. Assignment

Mike DeWine 

The Republican governor of Ohio announced on Friday that an unidentified member of the Ohio National Guard “expressed white supremacist ideology” online prior to being assigned to Washington, D.C. to help boost security amid civil unrest and #BlackLivesMatter protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper previously requested 100 Ohio National Guard members to provide security at the White House and to protect monuments and businesses from destruction, if need be. According to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, the FBI found out that one of those Ohio National Guard members espoused white supremacist ideology on the internet. Here’s what DeWine said on the matter in a Twitter thread:

I want to take a moment to address a situation regarding a member of the @OHNationalGuard, who was removed from the mission in Washington, DC, after the FBI uncovered information that this Guardsman expressed white supremacist ideology on the internet prior to the assignment.

While I fully support everyone’s right to free speech, Guardsmen and women are sworn to protect all of us, regardless of race, ethnic background, or religion.

Our Ohio National Guard members are in a position of trust and authority during times of crisis, and anyone who displays malice toward specific groups of Americans has no place in the @OHNationalGuard.

The Ohio National Guard and our Ohio Department of Public Safety are fully cooperating with the FBI in its investigation, and this individual is suspended from all missions at this time.

Following due process, it is highly likely that this individual will be permanently removed from the @OHNationalGuard. I have directed General Harris to work with Public Safety Director Tom Stickrath to set up a procedure so occurrences like this do not happen in the future.

In summary, the FBI discovered that this individual expressed white supremacist ideology online and, as a result, was removed from the D.C. mission. The person was suspended while the FBI investigates further. DeWine said it was “highly likely” this guardsman would be removed from the Ohio National Guard “permanently.”

[Image via Justin Merriman/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.