Defense

National Guard back inside Capitol after having been moved to parking garage

Greg Nash

National Guardsmen were allowed back inside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday night after having been moved to a parking garage.

Guardsmen had moved to a nearby parking garage after they were ordered to vacate the Capitol and other congressional buildings, Politico reported. They were asked to set up mobile command centers outside of the Capitol or at hotels.

Guardsmen were also told to take their breaks in parking garages, the outlet reported.

The report, which included a number of photos of Guardsmen sitting and sleeping in a garage, sparked outrage among lawmakers, who offered to lend their offices to troops needing to take rest breaks.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) said Capitol Police apologized to Guard personnel by 10:30 p.m., NBC News reported.

“Unreal. I can’t believe that the same brave servicemembers we’ve been asking to protect our Capitol and our Constitution these last two weeks would be unceremoniously ordered to vacate the building. I am demanding answers ASAP. They can use my office,” the Iraq War veteran said.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) also expressed outrage and offered her office.

“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,” she tweeted.

 

About 25,000 National Guard service members flooded the Capitol due to heightened security concerns around President Biden’s inauguration. The concerns stemmed from the Jan. 6 mob of former President Trump’s supporters who breached the U.S. Capitol as Congress was meeting to certify the Electoral College vote.

The National Guard Bureau said in a statement Thursday that troop relocation was temporary because Congress was in session, CNN reported.

In a statement released Friday, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said the agency “did not instruct the National Guard to vacate the Capitol building facilities.” 

“It was brought to our attention early today that facility management with the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Office Building reached out directly to the National Guard to offer use of its facilities,” Pittman said.

“As of this morning, all Guardsmen and women have been relocated to space within the Capitol Complex. The Department is also working with the Guard to reduce the need for sleeping accommodations by establishing shorter shifts, and will ensure they have access to the comfortable accommodations they absolutely deserve when the need arises,” Pittman added.

The Hill has reached out to the National Guard for comment.

Earlier this month, photos of National Guardsmen sleeping on the floors of the Capitol emerged as security was ramped up across D.C. ahead of Biden’s inauguration.

Updated at 10:51 a.m.

Tags Adam Kinzinger Capitol police Chuck Schumer Donald Trump Inauguration National Guard National Guard Tammy Duckworth U.S. Capitol Police
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