More governors are calling their local National Guard units 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.
Montana’s Republican governor Greg Gianforte called the expulsion of troops from the Capitol a “national disgrace.”
Gianforte said in an interview with Fox Business that when he heard about the mistreatment of the troops he immediately called them back home and that he will personally greet them and thank them for their service at the Montana airport when they arrive.
“We sent about 200 of our Guardsmen back to DC to make sure we had a peaceful transfer of power. They did their job and it is a national disgrace that they were escorted out of the Capitol into an unheated parking garage,” the governor said.
Republican governors Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, Ron DeSantis of Florida, and Greg Abbott of Texas also called their troops back to their states.
“We’re proud of you, but I’m not surprised you did exactly what I knew you would: you answered the call,” Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak, adjutant general of Idaho, told the troops. “You accomplished the mission and you represented Idaho in a professional manner.”
About 500 troops from Arkansas also went back home, reported KNWA.
“Their discipline and dedication to duty is really just emblematic of their character and the sacrifice that our National Guard soldiers make every time the nation or the state calls,” said Col. Jaskolski, commander for the 142nd Artillery Brigade in Arkansas.
Gov. Doug Burgum praised North Dakota’s troops after its National Guard reported that 130 of its soldiers had returned after their mission in Washington D.C. “Deeply grateful for the efforts and professionalism of our @NDNationalGuard in Washington, D.C. Welcome home!” wrote on Twitter.
— Gov. Doug Burgum (@DougBurgum) January 25, 2021
At least 5,000 National Guard members will remain in Washington through mid-March, a spokesman for the agency confirmed.
“As we continue to work to meet the final post-inauguration requirements, the National Guard has been requested to continue supporting federal law enforcement agencies with 7,000 members and will draw down to 5,000 through mid-March,” Maj. Matt Murphy told The Epoch Times via email.
“We are providing assistance such as security, communications, medical evacuation, logistics, and safety support to state, district, and federal agencies,” he added.
The U.S. Army didn’t respond to a request for comment.
More than 20,000 National 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.
On Jan. 21, 5,000 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 to the low 40s at night.
The move provoked widespread criticism from lawmakers of both parties.
Abbott wrote on Jan. 22 on Twitter that he had instructed his general “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.
Zachary Steiber contributed to this report.