Capitol police were on Thursday forced to apologize to thousands of National Guardsmen after troops were told to leave the building and sleep in a parking lot.
Up to 5,000 troops had been kept without internet, with one electrical outlet, and one bathroom with two stalls just 24 hours after protecting the inauguration of Joe Biden, Politico said Thursday.
One soldier told the outlet: ‘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.’
Following fierce reaction online from politicians from both side of the aisle Senator Tammy Duckworth tweeted: ‘Just made a number of calls and have been informed Capitol Police have apologized to the Guardsmen and they will be allowed back into the complex tonight. I’ll keep checking to make sure they are.’
She had earlier said: ‘Unreal. I can’t believe that the same brave servicemembers we’ve been asking to protect our Capitol and our Constitution these last two weeks would be unceremoniously ordered to vacate the building.
‘I am demanding answers ASAP. They can use my office.’
One National Guardsman had told CNN: ‘After everything went seamlessly, we were deemed useless and banished to a corner of a parking garage.’
Another told Task & Purpose: ‘Leaving our families for the last two weeks to come down here … it’s certainly important and historic, but the day after inauguration you kick us literally to the curb? Come on, man.’
Pictures show Guardsmen sleeping on the floor of the packed parking lot Thursday. It is not known why the troops were moved from Capitol buildings.
Thousands of National Guardsmen have been forced to sleep in a parking lot after being told to leave the Capitol they protected Wednesday, according to a report. Up to 5,000 troops have been kept without internet, with one electrical outlet, and one bathroom with two stalls, Politico said Thursday
New Hampshire National Guard posted this image Wednesday with the caption: ‘NH guardsmen slumber last night in a Washington, D.C. parking garage. Beginning a 36-hour security mission in support of the presidential inauguration, they staged in the garage overnight before standing security posts along the National Capital Region this morning’
MILITARY SOURCE IN DC: “For the last week my battalion has been sleeping on the floor in the Senate cafeteria. Today the Senate kicked us out & moved us to a cold parking garage. 5000 soldiers. 1 power outlet. One bathroom. This is how Joe Biden’s America treats solders.”
“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 …” one Guardsman said https://t.co/2QneUNtBDepic.twitter.com/Q8lZzP7hHV
Biden is pictured being sworn in on a family bible held by his wife, First Lady Jill Biden
The National Guard Bureau said Thursday that of the nearly 26,000 Guard troops deployed to D.C. for the inaugural, just 10,600 remain on duty. The bureau said the Guard is helping states with coordination and the logistics so that troops can get home.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted: ‘Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer—why are American troops who are tasked with keeping security at the Capitol being forced to sleep in a parking lot?
‘They deserve to be treated with respect, and we deserve answers.’
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said: ‘If this is true, it’s outrageous. I will get to the bottom of this.’
Guard spokesperson Maj. Matt Murphy said: ‘As Congress is in session and increased foot traffic and business is being conducted, Capitol Police asked the troops to move their rest area.
‘They were temporarily relocated to the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Center garage with heat and restroom facilities. We remain an agile and flexible force to provide for the safety and security of the Capitol and its surrounding areas.’
Following the reports Republican Sen. Mike Lee said: ‘Very upset by this story but I have been in touch with the Utah National Guard and they are taken care of.
‘My staff and I are investigating what happened here and will continue working to fix this situation.’
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: ‘Yeah this is not okay.
‘My office is free this week to any service members who’d like to use it for a break or take nap on the couch. We’ll stock up on snacks for you all too.
‘(We’re in the middle of moving offices and it’s a bit messy so don’t judge, but make yourself at home!)’
Democrat Sen. Krysten Sinema tweeted: ‘This is outrageous, shameful, and incredibly disrespectful to the men and women keeping the U.S. Capitol safe and secure. We need it fixed and we need answers on how it happened.’
Thousands of Guard troops from all across the country poured into D.C. by the planeload and busload late last week, in response to escalating security threats and fears of more rioting.
Military aircraft crowded the runways at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, carrying Guard members into the region in the wake of the deadly January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Guard forces were scattered around the city, helping to secure the Capitol, monuments, Metro entrances and the perimeter of central D.C., which was largely locked down for several days leading up to Wednesday’s inaugural ceremony.
Members of the National Guard play cards in the Capitol Visitors Center at the US Capitol, the day after the inauguration of President Joe Biden in Washington, DC
Members of the National Guard sleep in the Capitol Visitors Center Thursday
Thousands of Guard troops from all across the country poured into D.C. by the planeload and busload late last week, in response to escalating security threats and fears of more rioting
The U.S. Secret Service announced that the special security event for the inauguration officially ended at noon Thursday.
The Guard said that it may take several days to make all the arrangements to return the 15,000 home, but it should be complete in five to 10 days.
Guard members will have to turn in equipment, make travel plans and go through COVID-19 screening.
Some local law enforcement agencies have asked for continued assistance from the Guard, so roughly 7,000 troops are expected to stay in the region through the end of the month.
National Guard troops continue to be deployed around the Capitol Thursday