Four governors have ordered their local National Guard troops to return to their respective states following accounts of thousands of them saying they had been “banished” to the parking garage of the U.S. Capitol.
Republican Govs. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, Ron DeSantis of Florida, Greg Abbott of Texas, and Greg Gianforte of Montana have said they’re calling their Guard members home. More than 20,000 Guard troops were sent to Washington following the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and ahead of President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Abbott wrote on Jan. 22 on Twitter that he had “instructed General Norris to order the return of the Texas National Guard to our state.”
I have instructed General Norris to order the return of the Texas National Guard to our state. @TexasGuard
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 22, 2021
DeSantis also announced on Twitter that he ordered the Florida National Guard to return from Washington.
“Last night, I ordered our Adjutant General to bring Florida National Guard soldiers home from the National Capital Region,” he wrote.
Last night, I ordered our Adjutant General to bring Florida National Guard soldiers home from the National Capital Region.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) January 22, 2021
Sununu also proceeded to do the same, mentioning that they were treated with “substandard” conditions.
“I’ve ordered the immediate return of all New Hampshire National Guard from Washington D.C.,” Sununu wrote on Twitter. “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.”
I’ve ordered the immediate return of all New Hampshire National Guard from Washington D.C. 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. @NHNationalGuard
— Chris Sununu (@GovChrisSununu) January 22, 2021
DeSantis said on “Fox&Friends” that the assignment was a “half-cocked mission at this point.” He added that the Guard troops weren’t there as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) servants, referring to the 600 Texans who were deployed to Washington.
The National Guard released a statement saying that it will coordinate the return of around 15,000 troops during a five- to 10-day period, leaving about 7,000 Guard troops in Washington until the end of the month.
On Jan. 21, photos showing the thousands of troops holed up in the parking garage circulated on the internet. The troops were later allowed to return to the Capitol.
“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 use for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage. We feel incredibly betrayed,” a Guardsman told Politico.
Five thousand troops were reportedly suddenly ordered to vacate the Capitol to take their rest during their shifts in a nearby parking lot with no internet reception, a single electrical outlet, and one bathroom, with the temperature dropping low to the 40s at night.
The move provoked widespread criticism from lawmakers of both parties.