It didn't take very long for Joe Biden's presidency to become controversial as pictures showing troops resting in an unheated parking garage appeared.
On January 20, almost 25,000 National Guard troops were deployed to the Capitol to keep the President safe during the inauguration ceremony, in the wake of the riots just two weeks earlier. It didn't take very long for Joe Biden's presidency to become controversial as on the very first day after being sworn in, pictures of troops appeared online showing how they were forced to rest in a nearby unheated parking garage. By Thursday, state governors and some members of Congress openly criticized and expressed their outrage at troops being treated with utter disrespect.
This is the most offensive thing I've ever heard.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 19, 2021
No one should ever question the loyalty or professionalism of the Texas National Guard. @TexasGuard
I authorized more than 1,000 to go to DC.
I'll never do it again if they are disrespected like this.https://t.co/STZDMz7PGm
Our troops deserve the utmost honor & respect for securing the Capitol & defending democracy this week. This is unconscionable & unsafe. Whoever’s decision this was to house our National Guardsmen & women in underground parking lots must be held accountable, wrote Senator Tim Scott. It was further revealed according to BBC that the members were exposed to car fumes and that they did not even have proper access to basic facilities like toilets even after working extensively for days. Unfortunately, there was just one electrical outlet and one bathroom with two stalls for 5,000 troops, CNN reported. "Our guidance is if you're not eating or drinking, you need to be wearing a mask. We've already had just some in my unit alone test positive for Covid, and they're just keeping us packed together with caution tape in small areas," said a guardsman who wanted to remain anonymous.
And if you want to use the bathroom, well pic.twitter.com/YXLawaqA0Q— Alex Horton (@AlexHortonTX) January 22, 2021
Per INSIDER, thousands of National Guardsmen working 12-hour shifts were asked to vacate the congressional grounds and take their break in a cold parking garage. "We honestly just feel betrayed," the guardsman told CNN, noting that congressmen had arrived to take photos with different National Guards units a day prior. "After everything went seamlessly, we were deemed useless and banished to a corner of a parking garage." Before the inauguration, they were allotted several rest areas throughout the Capitol Complex but by Thursday morning their areas were cleared out and their designations were removed.
Over 100 National Guard members deployed to DC have tested positive for #COVID19, an official said.— AJ+ (@ajplus) January 22, 2021
Some officials believe cramped working and sleeping quarters contributed to the spread. More than 25,000 troops were in the city for Pres. Biden's inauguration. pic.twitter.com/3p5A1WhZui
Soon lawmakers began offering up their space to be used by the troop members for rest, this included former POTUS Donald Trump. Apparently, thousands of national troops were invited to stay at Trump Hotel situated in Washington, DC, shortly after being banished from the Capitol building by police. In a clip shared by Trump’s Washington, DC hotel several police officers could be seen resting in the reception area, reports Washington Examiner. A heart full of gratitude to all our law enforcement officers...Enjoy America’s Living Room and great having you all with [email protected], wrote Michael Damelincourt on Twitter. Damelincourt, the managing director for the district's Trump International Hotel, posted this on Wednesday, January 20.
Trump International Hotel in D.C. houses law enforcement this week.— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) January 22, 2021
Treatment of military and officers has been in the spotlight this week as news broke of National Guard troops being forced to sleep in a parking garage. pic.twitter.com/xsaxMFyj77
Even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez offered her office space writing: 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!) Republican Madison Cawthorn also paid a visit to one of these garages and handed out pizzas. I just visited the soldiers who have been abandoned & insulted by our leaders. I brought them pizza and told them that they can sleep in my office. No soldier will ever, ever sleep on a garage floor in the US Capitol while I work in Congress Our Troops deserve better, he expressed.
As politicians from either side of the aisle lashed out against this, the acting US Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman expressed that Capitol "did not instruct the National Guard to vacate the Capitol Building facilities" except for "specific times" on Inauguration Day. That being said, the National Guard Bureau earlier noted that troops had been relocated temporarily as Congress is in session. "The National Guard continues to assist and support the U.S. Capitol Police. 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," they said in a statement.
Just checked in with the Minnesota National Guard commander. While our MN troops in D.C. were not sent to rest in any garage, what happened was appalling. While it has now been resolved, it can never happen again. We thank all the troops for their extraordinary help and service.— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) January 22, 2021
By Friday, Pittman shared that all National Guard troops had been relocated to space within the Capitol complex. "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," she added. Even President Biden called the chief of the National Guard Bureau on Friday and apologized about the unfortunate situation, asking if there was anything that could be done about it. We previously reported that on Thursday, FLOTUS Jill Biden paid an announced visit to a group of National Troops nearby and brought them homemade chocolate chip cookies. "I just want to say thank you from President Biden and the whole, the entire Biden family," she said.
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visits National Guard troops stationed outside the US Capitol in DC:— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 22, 2021
"I just wanted to come today to say thank you to all of you for keeping me and my family safe ... The White House baked you some chocolate chip cookies." pic.twitter.com/lv33IZeblq