Members of the National Guard who had been stationed at the U.S. Capitol were returned to the Capitol complex itself after lawmakers voiced their anger at the Guardsmen being temporarily stationed in the parking garage, as reported by CNN.
The Guardsmen were moved to the parking garage after being told that they were no longer allowed to rest in certain designated “rest areas” of the Capitol complex, including the visitors’ center and the cafeteria. Several members of the Guard said that they felt “betrayed,” and that they were essentially “deemed useless and banished to a corner of a parking garage.”
Multiple members of Congress across both political parties expressed their outrage at the decision, including Republican Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema (R-Ariz.).
Pictures were circulated of members of the Guard forced to “rest” against concrete pillars in the underground garage, with only one electrical outlet and one bathroom available for some 5,000 Guardsmen. They had previously used such spaces as the cafeteria or visitors’ center due to the abundance of outlets and bathrooms, as well as the ability to access WiFi.
There are currently some 25,000 members of the National Guard stationed at the United States Capitol, called in to protect the complex during the inauguration, after a mostly peaceful crowd of pro-Trump protesters occupied the building on January 6th out of protest of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. The National Guard Bureau said that most of them will finally be sent home “within 5 to 10 days,” although as many as 7,000 could remain in the Capitol through the end of January.