Amid a Politico report that National Guard members were having to take breaks outside and in parking garages after being instructed to vacate the Capitol and congressional buildings, lawmakers took to social media to express their outrage over the treatment of the soldiers that had been protecting them and the building since a group of pro-Trump rioters stormed the building two weeks ago.

Key Facts

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), an army veteran, said the situation was “unreal,” adding that she could not believe 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.”

“If this is true, it’s outrageous,” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in response to reports.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) described the situation as “not ok,” offering up her office (and snacks!) to any service members wanting to use it.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) took the opportunity to take a shot at Speaker Pelosi and Schumer, asking them why the Guard were in a parking lot, adding that “they deserve to be treated with respect, and we deserve answers”.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) described the situation as “WRONG… And needs to be corrected immediately.”

Key Background

There has been a strong presence of the National Guard in the Capitol since a group of pro-Trump rioters stormed the building on Jan 6. in an attempt to disrupt the certification of Electoral College votes declaring Biden the next president. Tens of thousands of Guard troops were present in Washington, D.C. ahead of this week’s presidential inauguration, many of whom could be seen resting on Capitol grounds between shifts. Politico reported that Capitol Police had asked troops to leave the Capitol and congressional buildings on Thursday as they are now in session, before being allowed to return indoors later that day. 

What To Watch For

The conditions were cramped and many Guard troops were pictured without masks. A high number are reported — Politico puts this figure at at least 100 — to have tested positive for Covid-19 and the conditions could cause cases to potentially increase over coming weeks.     

Crucial Quote

“Yesterday dozens of senators and congressmen walked down our lines taking photos, shaking our hands and thanking us for our service,” Politico reported one Guardsman as saying. “Within 24 hours, they had no further use for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage. We feel incredibly betrayed.”

Further Reading

‘We feel incredibly betrayed’: Thousands of Guardsmen forced to vacate Capitol (Politico)

‘This is absurd’: Scores of National Guard members banished to Senate parking garage, soldiers say (Washington Post)

Preparing For The Worst: National Guard Troops Sleep In Capitol Building Amid Security Increases (Photos) (Forbes)

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