Lawmakers express outrage after thousands of National Guardsmen are moved into DC parking garage

Lawmakers have expressed outrage after thousands of National Guardsmen were moved from the Capitol and into a nearby parking garage.

On Thursday, thousands of national guardsmen were moved from the capitol into a nearby parking garage. This occurred as the need for the 25,000 soldiers inhabiting Capitol Hill dwindled post-inauguration. The order, originating from the Capitol Police, received outrage from a wide variety of congress members, both Republican and Democrat. The order by the Capitol Police to move thousands of troops into the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Center parking garage came after congress was back in session once the inauguration of Joseph R. Biden had concluded on Wednesday afternoon [Politico].

Capitol Police ordered the moving of the troops on Thursday, as confirmed by a national guard spokesperson: “Capitol Police asked troops to move their rest area on Thursday”, said Guard spokesperson Maj. Matt Murphy. The Capitol Police claimed that the parking garage was selected as an appropriate place to relocate the troops, citing that the garage had ample “heat and restroom facilities”. When interviewed by CNN, however, the guardsmen claimed: “After everything went seamlessly, we were deemed useless and banished to a corner of a parking garage.” and continued on to describe the situation inside the garage, stating that there was one, two-stalled restroom, and one outlet for the nearly 5,000 guardsmen that were taking their rest at any given time [CNN].

In the face of outrage from all sides of congress, the national guard, and state governors, the Capitol Police Watch Commander authorized troops to instead take their breaks near Emancipation Hall. A National Guard Bureau spokesperson assured reporters that “Our troops are going to hotel rooms or other comfortable accommodations at the end of their shifts.” This change of accommodations came after the troop’s schedules were revised around an 8 hour shift, 4 hours shorter than they had been working for the week prior. 8 hour shifts have allowed for guardsmen to rest off site, granting better accommodations than the marble floor of the capitol or the concrete of the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Center parking garage [FOX].

While the situation has been amended, it has given rise to a flurry of congresspeople speaking out against the controversy. Many members of congress made the trek to the parking garage where the resting guardsmen were located to shake their hands, snap pictures, and express sympathy and frustration. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) personally delivered pizzas to the troops. In a post on twitter, Cawthorn stated “I just visited the soldiers who have been abandoned & insulted by our leaders. I brought them pizza and told them that they can sleep in my office. No soldier will ever, ever sleep on a garage floor in the US Capitol while I work in Congress. Our Troops deserve better.” 

The last time national guardsmen inhabited the Capitol was April 15, 1861, during the height of the civil war amid President Licoln’s call for volunteers to fight in the war.




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