On Thursday night, Politico published horrifying photos showing hundreds of National Guard troops forced to sleep in a parking lot after they had been mysteriously booted from the U.S. Capitol. It seemed as though the National Guard had served their purpose for Democrats’ post-riot photo ops only to be shoved aside after the Inauguration went off without a hitch. After bipartisan outcry, it appears the National Guard troops have finally gotten the all-clear to head back to the Capitol.
“Just heard that our troops will be moved back inside tonight,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) announced on Twitter. “We owe our National Guard and law enforcement officials a debt of gratitude that we can never truly repay. They’ve put everything on the line to protect us. I’m glad to hear they’ll be back indoors tonight.”
Earlier, Scott had shared photos of the National Guard setting up camp in a parking lot, calling the situation “unconscionable & unsafe.”
Just heard that our troops will be moved back inside tonight. We owe our National Guard and law enforcement officials a debt of gratitude that we can never truly repay. They’ve put everything on the line to protect us. I’m glad to hear they’ll be back indoors tonight. https://t.co/TsNJ30QjCo
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) January 22, 2021
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) demanded answers from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
“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,” he tweeted.
Schumer pledged to “get to the bottom of this.”
Other Democrats also expressed outrage.
Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) called the situation “outrageous, shameful, and incredibly disrespectful to the men and women keeping the U.S. Capitol safe and secure.” She offered her office for National Guard troops to sleep in.
My office is available; the Guard is welcome to it. There is plenty of space in the US Capitol for the men and women keeping us safe. https://t.co/YAUMnRdOrt
— Kyrsten Sinema (@kyrstensinema) January 22, 2021
Politico reported that thousands of National Guard troops had been “forced to vacate congressional grounds” and had taken “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 assault on Jan. 6.”
Abrupt orders forced a unit out of the Dirksen Senate Office building on Thursday. “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,” Politico reported.
“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 National Guardsman told Politico.
In the wake of the Capitol riot on January 6, Washington, D.C., has effectively been shut down, with bridges from Virginia blocked and National Guard occupying most streets in the capital. While authorities had reportedly picked up on chatter of threats before the Inauguration, those threats failed to materialize.
While Pelosi had condemned federal law enforcement in the harshest of terms when President Donald Trump deployed them to Portland — comparing them to stormtroopers — she happily shared photos of herself with the National Guard in D.C. after January 6.
Even during this dark time in the history of America, we find reasons for hope. It was my privilege today to personally thank members of the National Guard who are working protect our nation’s Capitol. Thank you for your commitment to our American democracy. pic.twitter.com/20VnePSyYP
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 13, 2021
The shameful treatment National Guard troops experienced on Thursday may give the lie to those photo ops.
The American people deserve to know what happened on Thursday.