Did a chaotic chain of command send thousands of National Guard troops into parking garages? On Thursday, thousands of Guardsmen were ordered to vacate the warm environs of the U.S. Capitol building and move to various parking garages nearby. The conditions reported by Guardsmen were dismal. A lack of latrines, food or water, and nothing but cold concrete slabs to sit or lie down on. It’s one thing for servicemembers to endure such spartan conditions on deployment overseas or during training, but not while working a detail like a presidential inauguration. To be clear, the parking garages were not assigned as sleeping quarters for these Guardsmen but as a rest area between their shifts.
The National Guard Bureau put out the following statement by Public Affairs Officer Major Matt Murphy: “As Congress is in session and increased foot traffic and business is being conducted, Capitol Police asked the troops to move their rest area. They were temporarily relocated to the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Center garage with heat and restroom facilities. We remain an agile and flexible force to provide for the safety and security of the Capitol and its surrounding areas.”
The claim that the Capitol Police asked the Guardsmen to vacate the Capitol, and pictures of them lying and sitting on the cold floor of these garage locations caused another uproar on social media, similar in tone to the pre-inauguration images of Guardsmen sleeping in the Capitol’s halls and stairwells.
A story by Politico carried this headline: ‘We feel incredibly betrayed’: Thousands of Guardsmen forced to vacate Capitol