Lawmakers are looking for answers after thousands of National Guardsmen were told to vacate the U.S. Capitol building on Thursday and forced to rest in nearby parking garages. The Guardsmen have worked security at the Capitol in the two weeks following the Jan. 6 riot.
According to Politico, Capitol Police officials ordered the troops to vacate the facilities. The outlet reports that one unit was forced to rest in a nearby parking garage with no internet, one outlet, and one bathroom for 5,000 troops. The National Guard was reportedly told to "take their rest breaks during their 12-hour shifts outside and in parking garages."
“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,” one Guardsman told Politico.
The situation quickly courted outrage from top lawmakers from both parties, who also offered up their offices as rest spots for the National Guard. By the end of the night, all troops had been ordered back inside.
“Just made a number of calls and have been informed Capitol Police have apologized to the Guardsmen and they will be allowed back into the complex tonight,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth tweeted. “I’ll keep checking to make sure they are.”
However, Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman released a statement Friday morning insisting their officers “did not instruct the National Guard to vacate the Capitol Building facilities.”
“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.