Thousands of National Guardsmen were asked to vacate the Capitol after being on duty for about two weeks following the incident on January 6. Many of them went to a nearby parking garage that had limited resources and cold temperatures, sleeping in the cold and on the ground.
They had just one electrical outlet and a single bathroom for about 5,000 of them according to a report on Politico.
The stranded National Guardsmen were eventually let back into the Capitol, but that wasn’t until after lawmakers complained about the situation and the poor conditions.
It was the Capitol Police who were responsible for ordering the National Guard to leave the Capitol facilities.
Many of the Guardsmen expressed their disbelief about the mistreatment as well, with some of them feeling betrayed by the people whom they were originally sent to help with security.
Reports on multiple sites such as CNN, Washington Post, NYTimes, Fox News, and Politico have emerged. In one instance, a particular unit was resting inside the Dirksen Senate Office building when they were told to leave. Many of them congregated in a nearby parking garage, some sleeping in the cold temperatures down in near the lower 40s. They had no Internet reception, one bathroom, and one electrical outlet to share.
National Guard soldiers mobilized for inauguration security have been moved from the Capitol to sleep in a nearby parking garage, which is still in use by vehicles. It’s cold, full of car exhaust, and has one bathroom https://t.co/FzboPgZTvy
— John Ismay (@johnismay) January 22, 2021
The Politico report continued with one of the Guardsmen stating they felt betrayed by the mistreatment from the Capitol Police who asked them to evacuate.
“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.
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.
Several senators, from both sides of the political spectrum, had made complaints and phone-calls in support of the troops, demanding to know what happened and to find a solution for it that does not involve the Guardsmen essentially sleeping outside in a parking garage.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Tom Cotton complained. Sen. Martin Heinrich and Sen. Tammy Duckworth followed up with statements that the soldiers were allowed back inside the complex.
There is a possibility that the Guardsmen were asked to vacate the premises because some were not wearing masks, but this has not been confirmed.
About 100 of them have tested positive. About 25,000 of them were called to DC to guard during the inauguration and time before and after it, but many have since left.
Many are still unclear as to why Capitol Police asked them to leave. However, the Capitol Police have apologized according to Sen. Duckworth.