National Guard members say they feel ‘betrayed’ after being ‘banished to a parking garage’

Thousands of troops were kicked out of the Capitol building the day after inauguration, sparking outrage from U.S. representatives

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Some guard troops expressed concern that the tightly-packed, underground quarters with limited access to washroom facilities could increase the risk of COVID-19 spreading amongst them, reported Politico.

“We honestly just feel betrayed,” a member told CNN Thursday. “After everything went seamlessly, we were deemed useless and banished to a corner of a parking garage.”

The National Guard Bureau said Thursday that the troop relocation was only meant to be temporary as Congress is back in session and the Capitol slowly resumes its normal function.

Images of the soldiers laying down shoulder-to-shoulder on the garage floor, reportedly breathing in exhaust fumes, quickly circulated online and many U.S. representatives voiced outrage over their treatment.

Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s new majority leader, tweeted: “If this is true, it’s outrageous. I will get to the bottom of this.”

Representatives from both parties expressed confusion as to why they were kicked out of the Capitol in the first place, noting that the building remains closed to the public, so there’s plenty of room for the troops indoors.

“Yeah this is not okay,” tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “My office is free this week to any service members who’d like to use it for a break or take [a] nap on the couch. We’ll stock up on snacks for you all too.”

After the outcry, all guard troops were eventually let back into the U.S. Capitol and other congressional buildings late Thursday night.

Over 25,000 National Guard members were deployed to Washington to secure the Capitol and surrounding area prior to Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration on Wednesday.

Most of them are expected to return home in the coming days, though some 7,000 will remain in Washington until the end of the month, according to CNN.

National Guard troops say they feel “betrayed,” after U.S. Capitol Police told them to vacate the Capitol building, forcing them to take refuge in an underground parking garage.

The troops had previously taken rest breaks during their 12-hour shifts inside the Capitol building itself, but Capitol Police informed them on Thursday that they could no longer stay inside.

Guard members have hotel rooms in the D.C. area, but they are not always easy to return to as the soldiers are on duty for days at a time, getting short breaks to rest wherever they can.

A unit of 5,000 National Guard members were moved to a nearby parking garage that had limited cell and internet reception, one electrical outlet and a single two-stall bathroom, Politico reported.

“I’ve never in my entire career felt like I’ve been booted onto the curb and told, ‘Figure it out on your own,’” one of the National Guard members told the Washington Post.

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