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Why were National Guardsmen made to sleep on garage floor? Soldier says 'we were deemed useless' as pics go viral

Photos of the soldiers raised eyebrows online as they had no internet, only one electrical outlet, and only one bathroom with 2 stalls
UPDATED JAN 22, 2021
National Guardsmen rest in the Visitor Center of the Capitol (Getty Images)
National Guardsmen rest in the Visitor Center of the Capitol (Getty Images)

As per recent reports, when National Guard Troops were moved from the Capitol for a reason that hasn't been disclosed, they were "forced" to sleep on the floor of a packed parking lot. On Thursday, January 21, it was revealed by The National Guard Bureau that there were as many as 26,000 troops that were deployed to DC for President Joe Biden's inauguration.

Of these 26,000 troops, only 10,600 "remained" on duty. According to Daily Mail, Capitol Police were "forced" to apologize to the National Guardsmen after about 5,000 guards were told to leave the building and sleep in the parking lot. They had no internet, only one electrical outlet, and only one bathroom with 2 stalls. This was done, according to reports, one day after they protected the inaugural ceremony.

Virginia National Guard soldiers are issued their M4 rifles and live ammunition (Getty Images)

How did the news become public?

Politico revealed that one of the Guardsmen said, "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 outlet also reported that a unit that was resting at the Dirksen Senate Office building were told to vacate the facility "abruptly" on January 21, as per a Guardsman. The outlet published photos of the Guards in the parking garage with many sleeping on the ground. Another guardsman also revealed that they were told to "take their rest breaks during their 12-hour shifts outside and in parking garages." 

CNN reported that a National Guardsman said, "After everything went seamlessly, we were deemed useless and banished to a corner of a parking garage." Task & Purpose also revealed that another of the guards said, "Leaving our families for the last two weeks to come down here... it’s certainly important and historic, but the day after the inauguration you kick us literally to the curb? Come on, man."

According to Daily Mail, however, Maj. Matt Murphy, a Guard spokesperson said, "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."

Furious reactions to the photos

The photos (seen in tweets below), raised eyebrows online. But these were not just Twitter users, as politicians also spoke on the outrage.


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted: “If this is true, it's outrageous. I will get to the bottom of this.”  Senator Tammy Duckworth tweeted a thread, with the first reading, "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 second part of the thread read, "I meant ASAP when I said it. 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. I’ll keep checking to make sure they are." Lastly, just not too long ago, she shared an update, "Update: Just received text from Guard Commander: the last Guardsmen will clear the garage by 2330 tonight."




The pictures continue to circulate online. Another tweet read, "MILITARY SOURCE IN DC: “'For the last week my battalion has been sleeping on the floor in the Senate cafeteria. Today the Senate kicked us out & moved us to a cold parking garage. 5000 soldiers. 1 power outlet. One bathroom. This is how Joe Biden’s America treats soldiers.' PHOTOS" He also shared a video of the soldiers.



Politicians offered their office spaces. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, "Yeah this is not okay. My office is free this week to any service members who’d like to use it for a break or take nap on the couch. We’ll stock up on snacks for you all too. (We’re in the middle of moving offices and it’s a bit messy so don’t judge, but make yourself at home!)"