Thousands Of Guardsmen Feel ‘Betrayed’ After Being Forced To Leave Capitol
Thousands of National Guardsmen are reportedly taking rest breaks outside in nearby parking garages after being told to vacate congressional grounds.
UPDATE: All National Guardsmen are welcomed back to the Capitol tonight.
Photos of troops sleeping in the U.S. Capitol went viral after the building was attacked by rioters on Jan. 6, but now that the inauguration is over the troops feel like they're being kicked to the curb.
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 story from Politico features exclusive photos of National Guardsman packed together in a parking garage.
According to one Guardsman, his group had been resting in the Dirksen Senate Office building when they were "abruptly told to vacate the facility."
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
Other National Guard troops were reportedly told to vacate nearby congressional buildings including the U.S. Capitol. No one was given a clear reason why they were asked to leave. Some assumed it may have been due to a complaint that some Guardsmen weren't wearing their masks but assured that was "not the case."
We have strict guidance that masks are to be worn at all times unless soldiers are eating and drinking
National Guard spokesperson Maj. Matt Murphy says that Capitol Police asked the troops to move their rest area due to Congress being in session and foot traffic increasing.
Although it wasn't their decision to move the troops, Guard leadership is "doing their best to provide rest shelter for troops who are still on 12-hour shifts protecting the Capitol and congressional grounds."
There really may be an important reason for us to vacate and it just hasn’t been well communicated yet
The biggest concern amongst most troops is the fact that they are packed in close quarters "with limited bathroom access during a pandemic." While a spokesperson previously declined to provide a "specific number" of troops who've tested positive for the coronavirus there is a reported 100 Guardsmen who have tested positive and are quarantining in hotels.
A U.S. Senator offered up her office, saying she needed answers on how this all happened.
UPDATE: Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer has caught wind of the situation and doesn't seem too happy about it.
CBS News has confirmed that the troops were asked to move to a nearby parking garage.
We will keep you updated on this developing story. In the meantime see the full report here via Politico.