Speed Reads

national guard shuffle

National Guard members back to sleeping on Capitol floor after brief banishment to parking garage

Some members of the National Guard stationed near the Capitol after Inauguration Day were forced to use a parking garage for a rest area last night, and it's unclear who is to blame.

Politico first reported that the soldiers were pushed out from the Capitol and congressional office buildings Thursday night, with one Guard member saying they were told to set up new command centers outside or in hotels. Breaks after Guard members completed their 12-hour shifts were supposed to be taken outside or in a nearby parking garage, another member said. Photos soon showed dozens of troops huddled in the garage.

The incident prompted outrage and finger pointing from both lawmakers on sides of the aisle. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) made House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) his scapegoats, while Schumer promised he would "get to the bottom of this." By Friday morning, the troops were allowed back into the Capitol.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) implied in a Thursday tweet that the Capitol Police were the ones who'd ordered the Guard out of the Capitol, and the D.C. National Guard confirmed to Military Times in a statement that the police had made the call. But two soldiers told Military Times that the police shouldn't be blamed. "I hate that senators are blaming this on the Capitol Police,” one said, recounting how the force has done "nothing but act like coworkers to us." Another Guard soldier said it's the senators who "keep increasing the Guard force and decreasing the space we are allowed to rest in."

State governors are the commanders in chief of their individual Guard forces. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) ordered his Guard members home Friday morning after the incident.