Hundreds of National Guard troops were photographed Thursday night crowded into a Washington D.C. parking garage a day after more than 25,000 National Guard troops and another 2,750 active-duty military troops provided support for President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
A Guardsman who spoke anonymously with Politico said about 5,000 troops were relocated to a single parking garage after they were ordered to vacate the Dirksen Senate Office building where they were previously staying during their deployment to Washington. The group remained there with no internet reception, one electrical outlet, and one bathroom with just two stalls to serve all of their needs. Temperatures in Washington dipped to the low 40s by nightfall Thursday.
Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio tweeted, “We obtained these photos of National Guard troops packed in a parking garage on the Senate side of the Capitol. Huge Covid risk.”
The Guardsman who spoke to Politico said, “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.”
The Guardsman’s comments comes after tens of thousands of troops from across the country deployed to Washington over the last two weeks to help with security for the inauguration on Wednesday.
Newsmax host Benny Johnson tweeted, “Here’s a video from the parking garage where 5,000 members of the National Guard who were guarding the Capitol are being forced to stay.”
After the troops were deployed to D.C., the Pentagon announced it would be vetting those troops to determine if any posed a risk of insider attacks to the inauguration. At least a dozen Guardsmen were removed from the mission after the vetting process flagged “questionable behavior.” Pentagon officials said two were removed for texts and comments they deemed inappropriate, while the other 10 were removed for behavior flags that “may be unrelated” to the inauguration events.”
Johnson tweeted another quote from a 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 soldiers.
Politico reported the order for the troops to vacate the Senate building came from U.S. Capitol Police.
After reports of the troops being put out in the parking garage, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted: “If this is true, it’s outrageous. I will get to the bottom of this.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) a former U.S. Army infantry officer tweeted, “We’ll get to the bottom of this and get it fixed. Congress is in session, but buildings are still closed to public, so there’s plenty of room for troops to take a break in them. And with the inaugural over, we should start getting the Guardsmen back to their families, jobs, and communities anyway. The extreme security measures of the last couple weeks can be substantially reduced.”
Late on Thursday night, Politico reported the guardsmen were allowed back into the Capitol.
Washington Post reported Dan Lamothe tweeted, “National Guard source sends this along — guardsmen departing the parking garage in D.C. tonight, after an outcry over them getting bumped out of rest breaks in the Capitol building.