Shortly after they demanded that 25,000 members of the National Guard provide security for President Joe Biden’s inauguration, Washington, D.C. politicians quietly banished thousands of troops from the U.S. Capitol, forcing them to set up sleeping quarters in nearby parking garages on Thursday night.
.@cbsnews has confirmed—The Capitol Police today asked the National Guard troops protecting the grounds and the inauguration to not take their rest breaks from the cold inside the Capitol and moved thousands to a nearby parking garage.
— Kris Van Cleave (@krisvancleave) January 22, 2021
And if you want to use the bathroom, well pic.twitter.com/YXLawaqA0Q
— Alex Horton (@AlexHortonTX) January 22, 2021
While temperatures outside dropped to the low 40s, more than 5,000 Guardsmen, who didn’t experience any of the predicted violent clashes on Inauguration Day, were forced to share one electrical outlet, two restroom stalls, and rest their heads on the concrete, without an explanation.
“Yesterday dozens of senators and congressmen walked down our lines taking photos, shaking our hands, and thanking us for our service. Within 24 hours, they had no further use for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage. We feel incredibly betrayed,” one Guardsman told Politico.
Multiple senators, representatives, and other government officials on both sides of the political aisle decried the decision. Some offered up their offices as sleeping quarters, others brought them food, and some called on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders to provide answers.
My office is available; the Guard is welcome to it. There is plenty of space in the US Capitol for the men and women keeping us safe. https://t.co/YAUMnRdOrt
— Kyrsten Sinema (@kyrstensinema) January 22, 2021
To any members of the National Guard protecting our Capitol — if you need a warm place to rest and recharge, my office is open to you.
Mi casa es su casa. Beer & lunch meat are in the fridge, help yourself.
— Rep. Tony Gonzales (@RepTonyGonzales) January 22, 2021
Every member of Congress should be appalled by this despicable treatment of the men and women of the National Guard, who answered the call to protect our nation’s capital.
Speaker Pelosi is in charge of the Capitol complex. She must provide answers immediately. https://t.co/kUlKUaMhuc
— Rep. Elise Stefanik (@RepStefanik) January 22, 2021
We should be grateful to the members of the National Guard who are here securing the Capitol. I don’t know who ordered them to go sleep in a garage and can’t understand why they would do that.
It needs to be reversed.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 22, 2021
I just visited the solders who have been abandoned & insulted by our leaders. I brought them pizza and told them that they can sleep in my office.
No soldier will ever, ever sleep on a garage floor in the US Capitol while I work in Congress
Our Troops deserve better. pic.twitter.com/4attFqhRRJ
— Madison Cawthorn (@CawthornforNC) January 22, 2021
The National Guard did not respond to The Federalist’s calls, but told other outlets, “Guard leadership did not make the decision and were ‘doing their best to provide rest shelter for troops who are still on 12-hour shifts protecting the Capitol and congressional grounds.’”
While the troops were eventually allowed back into the Capitol complex, it is still unclear as to who ordered that the Guardsmen be removed from the historic building so swiftly and why. Some sources suggest that it was at the request of a Democratic lawmaker, possibly Rep. Bill Keating of Massachusetts, who was upset that some of the troops weren’t wearing masks. Keating denied that his complaint was what spurred the decision and other congressional leaders such as Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did not respond to The Federalist’s request for comment.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also directed their states’ troops that were present in D.C. to return home Thursday night, shortly after news broke of the sleeping arrangements.
I have instructed General Norris to order the return of the Texas National Guard to our state. @TexasGuard
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 22, 2021
Last night, I ordered our Adjutant General to bring Florida National Guard soldiers home from the National Capital Region.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) January 22, 2021
“These folks are soldiers, not Nancy Pelosi’s servants,” DeSantis said on “Fox and Friends” Friday morning. “This is a half-cocked mission at this point and the appropriate thing is to bring them home,” he added.
Despite the virtue signaling from both the left and the right, the Guard’s deportation from the Capitol comes mere days after Democrats encouraged the vetting of National Guard members, especially those assigned to provide security in D.C. following the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, for ties to “extremism” and support for former President Donald Trump.
“When you have Guardsmen and women coming from all over the nation at this time, I do think that it is prudent to make sure that they are being vetted and that anybody who cannot pledge allegiance to their missions, and may be pulled by other views, needs not only to be removed from this duty, they need to be removed from the Guard,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Tuesday.
Just days before, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., explained a similar concept to CNN’s Jim Sciutto, saying that even though “the Guard is 90-some-odd-percent male … only about 20 percent of white males voted for Biden.”
“You’ve got to figure that in the Guard, which is predominantly more conservative — I see that on my social media, and we know it. They’re probably not more than 25 percent of the people that are there protecting us who voted for Biden,” Cohen said. “The other 75 percent are in the class, the large class of folks, who might want to do something.”
Rep. Steve Cohen implies that 75% of the National Guard are in the class of people who "may want to do something" at the inauguration.
Cohen is saying that National Guard troops who voted for Trump should automatically be suspected of being threats. pic.twitter.com/6ozID4y9ry
— America Rising (@AmericaRising) January 18, 2021