Some Americans rushed to donate after National Guardsmen were seen sleeping on the floor of the U.S. Capitol, but the military doesn’t want their help.
The National Guard on Wednesday said it’s grateful for the efforts but can’t receive people’s donations.
“While we appreciate the many offers and people who care about our soldiers and airmen, we are not logistically able to accept donations of any kind,” officials said in a news release.
National Guard troops were sent to Washington, D.C., to help protect the Capitol after the chaotic siege last week.
While Congress met to certify Electoral College votes confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s win, rioters stormed inside the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the violent day.
After the siege, the mayor of Washington, D.C., said she had safety concerns about Biden’s upcoming swearing-in ceremony, McClatchy News reported.
“We believe strongly that the 59th Presidential Inauguration on January 20 will require a very different approach than previous inaugurations given the chaos, injury and death experienced at the United States Capitol during the insurrection,” Mayor Muriel Bowser wrote in a letter.
As troops prepared to support those enhanced security efforts, photos posted to social media Wednesday showed National Guard members sitting and lying down on floors of the Capitol building. Some were propped up near staircases or statues.
“Just walked into the Capitol to find literally hundreds of troops napping and lining up in the Congressional Visitor Center— as streets around here are largely blocked,” Nathaniel Reid, a reporter with Newsy, wrote in a tweet.
People who saw the online posts and news reports about the National Guardsmen started to organize donation efforts to help them, according to officials.
One GoFundMe campaign raised more than $600 on a page that said it would provide hot meals for troops. Another GoFundMe page that claimed to raise money for sleeping mats later announced it would be returning the $3,000 it had received in donations.
“Please know our National Guardsmen have appropriate lodging for when they are off-duty; the photos circulating are of them on-duty, in a designated rest area between shifts,” the National Guard wrote in its news release.
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