BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The commanding general of the Idaho National Guard told Republican Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin on Tuesday that she can’t activate troops to send to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Major General Michael J. Garshak in a letter to McGeachin says a call for help from border states earlier this year involved law enforcement, not National Guard troops.
Republican Gov. Brad Little announced Monday he was going to the Texas-Mexico border to meet with nine other Republican governors on Wednesday over concerns on how President Joe Biden is handling border issues.
McGeachin is the acting governor while Little is out of state.
“As of Wednesday, my constitutional authority as Governor affords me the power of activating the Idaho National Guard,” McGeachin told Garshak in a letter sent Tuesday morning and obtained by The Associated Press. “As the Adjutant General, I am requesting information from you on the steps needed for the Governor to activate the National Guard.”
Garshak replied with one paragraph on Tuesday afternoon.
“I am unaware of any request for Idaho National Guard assistance under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) from Texas or Arizona,” Garshak wrote to McGeachin. “As you are aware, the Idaho National Guard is not a law enforcement agency.”
Little in June sent a team of Idaho State Police troopers to the border to help with intelligence gathering and investigative work to stop drugs from coming across the border.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona had requested the help under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact that empowers states to help other states in times of disasters or emergencies.
“On Sept 24, I spoke to my counterpart in Texas, Lt Gov. Dan Patrick’s office, and they affirmed the need for additional resources in helping the situation on our southern border,” McGeachin told Garshak.
McGeachin’s office on Tuesday didn’t respond to a request for comment.
“Attempting to deploy our National Guard for political grandstanding is an affront to the Idaho constitution and insults the men and women who have dedicated their life to serving our state and the country,” Little said in a statement after arriving in Texas.
McGeachin in May announced her run for governor, challenging the first-term incumbent Little. In Idaho, the governor and lieutenant governor do not run on the same ticket.
McGeachin is on the far right of the political spectrum in the conservative state. In May when Little was out of state, she issued an executive order banning mask mandates that Little eliminated when he returned, saying mask mandate decisions were best left to local officials. Little has never issued a mask mandate.