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Governors yank National Guard troops from DC after military members were booted from Capitol, made to rest in unheated parking garage


That's a slap in the face

Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Texas, Florida, and New Hampshire Republican Govs. Greg Abbott, Ron DeSantis, and Chris Sununu have recalled members of their state National Guard from Washington, D.C., after thousands of soldiers were forced to rest in a parking garage in near-freezing temperatures.

Thousands of National Guardsmen were deployed to the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago following the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 and in preparation of President Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The service members slept indoors, on cots and on the floors of Washington, D.C.'s federal buildings, until last night.

What are the details?

On Thursday night, Abbott tweeted, "I have instructed General Norris to order the return of the Texas National Guard to our state."

On Friday morning, DeSantis tweeted, "Last night, I ordered our Adjutant General to bring Florida National Guard soldiers home from the National Capital Region."

According to a Friday report from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, DeSantis appeared on Fox News' "Fox & Friends," where he revealed the decision.

Calling the assignment a "half-cocked mission," DeSantis snapped, "They are soldiers; they are not Nancy Pelosi's servants."

For his part, Sununu on Friday tweeted, "I've ordered the immediate return of all New Hampshire National Guard from Washington DC. They did an outstanding job serving our nation's capital in a time of strife and should be graciously praised, not subject to substandard conditions."

What else?

According to a Politico report Thursday night, the move was damaging to the soldiers' morale.

"One unit, which had been resting in the Dirksen Senate Office building, was abruptly told to vacate the facility on Thursday, according to one Guardsman," the outlet reported. "The group was forced to rest in a nearby parking garage without internet reception, with just one electrical outlet, and one bathroom with two stalls for 5,000 troops, the person said. Temperatures in Washington were in the low 40s by nightfall."

The outlet revealed that hours later — and following much outcry — the guardsmen "were allowed back into the buildings to rest and the Capitol Police apologized for the incident."

One unnamed guardsman 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 ruse for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage. We feel incredibly betrayed."

You can read more on the night's events here.

What has Biden said?

On Friday, the New York Times reported that Biden personally phoned the chief of the National Guard Bureau and issued an apology for Thursday night's events.

"In the telephone call with Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, the head of the National Guard Bureau, Mr. Biden apologized and asked what he could do, officials said," the report explained.

"Officials said that the White House may also hold a call with state officials to thank them for the deployment of the National Guard personnel who provided security for the inauguration," the report concluded.

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