Earlier today at the U.S. Capitol, Politico reported that guardsmen said they were were asked to vacate buildings, forced to rest in a nearby parking garage. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), called the move "absolutely unacceptable and despicable treatment of our brave and dedicated National Guard who answered the call to serve."
Thousands of National Guardsmen were forced to vacate congressional grounds on Thursday and are now taking their rest breaks outside and in nearby parking garages, after two weeks of sleepless nights protecting the nation’s capital in the wake of the violent Jan. 6 assault on the U. S. Capitol.
One unit, which had been resting in the Dirksen Senate Office building, was abruptly told to vacate the facility on Thursday, according to one Guardsman. The group was forced to rest in a nearby parking garage without internet reception, with just one electrical outlet, and one bathroom with two stalls for 5,000 troops, the person 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 said.
POLITICO obtained photos showing the guard members packed together in the parking garage, sleeping on the ground.
All National Guard troops were told to vacate the Capitol and nearby congressional buildings on Thursday, and to set up mobile command centers outside or in nearby hotels, another Guardsman confirmed. They were told to take their rest breaks during their 12-hour shifts outside and in parking garages, the person said.
Prominent lawmakers from both parties took to Twitter to decry the decision and call for answers after POLITICO first reported the news Thursday night. Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader, tweeted: "If this is true, it's outrageous. I will get to the bottom of this."