Military reserves will spend each night in a parking garage while they continue to defend the home of U.S. Congress, a federal law enforcement agency allegedly said.
Capitol Police were accused of forcing the National Guard from the Capitol Complex grounds and making them sleep in a nearby parking garage.
Guardsmen said police interrupted their scheduled break inside of the Dirksen Senate Office building on Jan. 21.
Officers then ordered all 5,000 troops to immediately vacate the premises and set up camp in the corner of a nearby parking lot where there are allegedly few amenities and no internet access.
“For the last week, my battalion has been sleeping on the floor in the Senate cafeteria,” one source said according to Turning Point USA Chief Creative Officer Benny Johnson. “The Senate kicked us out and moved us to a cold parking garage. 5,000 soldiers. 1 power outlet. One bathroom. This is how Joe Biden’s America treats soldiers.”
The decision outraged several troops who went public about their alleged mistreatment.
“Dozens of senators and congressmen walked down our lines taking photos, shaking our hands, and thanking us for our service,” one Guardsman said, according to Politico. “Within 24 hours, they had no further use for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage. We feel incredibly betrayed.”
Photos Johnson shared on Twitter appear to show dozens of troops sitting and lying down on hard concrete floors. Some rest against support beams, while others use backpacks as makeshift pillows. Parked vehicles can be seen just outside the cordoned-off area.
Some of the Guardsmen have also reportedly braved freezing temperatures by sleeping underneath the stars.
The news outraged Republicans who demanded answers from the Biden administration.
“This is absolutely unacceptable and despicable treatment of our brave and dedicated National Guard who answered the call to serve,” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) said on Twitter. “We need to demand answers now, and this needs to be fixed immediately.”
“We should be grateful to the members of the National Guard who are here securing the Capitol,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said on Twitter. “I do not know who ordered them to go sleep in a garage and cannot understand why they would do that—it needs to be reversed.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for mistreating the National Guard.
“Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer—why are American troops who are tasked with keeping security at the Capitol being forced to sleep in a parking lot?” he said on Twitter. “They deserve to be treated with respect, and we deserve answers.”
However, Schumer quickly expressed doubt about the authenticity of several photographs and videos of troops sleeping in a parking garage.
“If this is true, it is outrageous,” he said on Twitter. “I will get to the bottom of this.”
However, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) decided he had seen enough proof of mistreatment and immediately recalled Guardsmen who came from the Lone Star State.
“I have instructed Maj. Gen. [Tracy] Norris to order the return of the Texas National Guard to our state,” he said on Twitter.
Sen. Martin Heinrich (R-N.M.) offered to let some troops spend the night in his congressional office space.
“If the guardsmen need space, we all have empty office space right now,” he said on Twitter. “I’ll offer mine up in a heartbeat. I’m talking to colleagues now to identify more space.”