Ohio Gov. DeWine: National Guardsman deployed to DC 'expressed white supremacist ideology'

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Friday that a National Guard soldier who was removed from his unit's mission in Washington, D.C., after the FBI learned the individual expressed white supremacist ideology over the Internet will likely be booted from the military following due process.

In a series of tweets, the Republican governor said he supports free speech, but that "Guardsmen and women are sworn to protect all of us, regardless of race, ethnic background, or religion."

"Anyone who displays malice toward specific groups of Americans has no place in the @OHNationalGuard," DeWine said.

He did not elaborate on what the guard member posted online.

In a statement to Fox News, the Ohio National Guard said the soldier is a private first class assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 148th Infantry Regiment based in northwest Ohio.

The name of the guardsman was not released.

"If true, these are egregious allegations," the Ohio National Guard's Adjutant General's Department said of the alleged ties to an extremist organization. "Racism and prejudice has no place in our organization. Every member of the Ohio National Guard is held to a high standard of professionalism. Ohio knows and trusts its National Guard."

"Any threat to that public trust will not be tolerated. It is our purpose to treat every person we encounter with dignity and respect," the statement continued.

Around 100 members of the Ohio National Guard were sent to the nation's capital in recent days at the request of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. The soldiers were tasked with assisting in security at the White House, national monuments and protecting businesses.

The deployment comes amid days of protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in police custody last month. While demonstrations have remained mostly peaceful, looting and rioting have occurred in cities across the country.

The soldier allegedly expressed the racist ideology prior to his assignment in D.C., DeWine said. The individual has since been suspended from all missions, he said.

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The Ohio National Guard and Ohio's Department of Public Safety are cooperating with the FBI in its investigation. DeWine said he's ordered Ohio Adjutant General Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr. to work with public safety Director Thomas Stickrath to set up a procedure to prevent similar incidents.