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TX, FL Govs recall Nat’l Guard from DC after forced to parking garage from Capitol

Texas National Guard soldiers stand near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht)
January 22, 2021

Governors Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas recalled their National Guard service members from Washington, D.C., after troops were kicked out of the Capitol and forced to rest in a nearby parking garage.

DeSantis made the order Thursday night, calling troops’ presence in Washington “a half-cocked mission at this point” during an appearance on Fox News Friday morning.

“They’ve served our country all around the world, they’ve served the state of Florida after natural disasters,” DeSantis said. “They’re soldiers, they’re not Nancy Pelosi’s servants.”

Abbott also called for the return of the Texas National Guard to his state, tweeting the decision late Thursday.

According to the National Guard Bureau, roughly 10,600 troops remain on duty in D.C., a sharp drawdown from the almost 26,000 National Guardsmen who were deployed to the city for Inauguration Day.

DeSantis and Abbott were joined by dozens of lawmakers who expressed outrage on social media Thursday night after Politico first broke the story that hundreds of National Guard troops were seen crowded into a parking garage a day after providing support for President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

“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,” a Guardsman who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Politico.

Roughly 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.

Following the backlash, the troops were once again relocated and allowed back into the Capitol, according to Politico.

“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,” the Washington Post’s Dan Lamothe tweeted.