US Capitol Police Denies Relocating National Guard Troops From Capitol to Garage

January 22, 2021 Updated: January 23, 2021

U.S. Capitol Police officials denied vacating National Guard troops to a garage amid a public relations disaster that prompted White House officials to apologize.

“I want to assure everyone that, with the exception of specific times on Inauguration Day itself while the swearing-in ceremonies were underway, the United States Capitol police did not instruct the National Guard to vacate the Capitol Building facilities,” Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said on the department’s website. “And on Inauguration Day, the Guard was notified and encouraged to reoccupy the spaces in the Capitol and CVC at 2 p.m.”

Pittman added, “It was brought to our attention early today that facility management with the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Office Building reached out directly to the National Guard to offer use of its facilities.”

It came after the National Guard on Friday said the U.S. Capitol Police ordered its troops to move its break area from inside the Capitol to a nearby parking garage.

“As Congress is in session and increased foot traffic and business is being conducted, Capitol Police asked the troops to move their rest area,” the D.C. National Guard said in a statement. “They were temporarily relocated to the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Center garage with heat and restroom facilities.”

Thousands of National Guard members were deployed in Washington after a group of people breached the Capitol building on Jan. 6 during the Joint Session of Congress.

Epoch Times Photo
National Guard members get instructions as others stand guard near the White House ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, in Washington on Jan. 19, 2021. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)
National Guard
National Guard members patrol the National Mall in Washington on Jan. 19, 2021. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Two top senators said Friday that the order for the National Guard to move from their rest area on Capitol grounds to the parking garage appeared to be a mistake made lower in the Guard’s chain of command.

“There was one uniformed police officer who issued an order without authority or without going through the chain of command and I’m glad the Capitol Police and the Guard are talking and trying to figure this out,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said, as reported by Fox News. “We are going to be able to identify who that person was.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) added, “No one from anyone on high, but a few people said they had to leave. No one understood why. But it’s gone. And they all had a nice place to stay … What happened was an outrage and it will not happen again.”

President Joe Biden on Friday called the head of the National Guard to apologize after the fracas, according to reports. Meanwhile, First Lady Jill Biden thanked the Guard stationed at the Capitol.

“The National Guard will always hold a special place in the hearts of all the Bidens,” the first lady, sporting a mask, told the service members, according to a White House press pool report.

On Friday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, both Republicans, ordered their National Guard members home.