WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today condemned Senator Mike Lee’s (R-UT) statements that District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser is “ungrateful” and “must be stopped” from allegedly “evicting” the Utah National Guard and other state guards from D.C. hotels. Norton noted that state national guards have been deployed in D.C. by state governors at the request of the federal government, without Bowser’s consent, even though Bowser, like governors, has the authority to request the assistance of out-of-state guards under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. Norton said she is not surprised by Lee’s comments because he has spent considerable time in the Senate introducing legislation to overturn local D.C. laws. Lee, who professes to support local control over local affairs, has been a chronic abuser of Congress’ anti-democratic power over D.C., introducing legislation to overturn D.C.’s occupational licensing laws and create a new D.C. Council committee on occupational licensing; to ban abortions after 20 weeks in the District; and to allow discrimination against D.C.’s LGBTQ residents. Norton has defeated all of these bills.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced the District of Columbia Courts Home Rule Act Bill. (Eric Kayne/AP Images for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy)

“D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser can respond to Senator Mike Lee for herself, but I felt compelled to call out Senator Lee’s offensive and autocratic comments, just as I have called out his previous attacks on D.C. home rule,” Norton said. “Since passage of the Home Rule Act in 1973, we have never seen the executive branch of the federal government try to impose its will on the District like we have seen over the past week. I applaud Mayor Bowser for sending a letter to the president yesterday calling for all the extra federal police and troops to be removed from D.C. The Trump administration has not imposed its will on other jurisdictions in the last week, and it should not do so in the District. If Mayor Bowser, like any governor or mayor, desires the assistance of the federal police and troops with non-federal matters, she knows how to ask for it. She has not done so, so they need to leave.”