The Utah National Guard confirmed that 200 of its service members were kicked out of a hotel in the District of Columbia after Mayor Muriel Bowser called for the White House to withdraw troops.
Bowser has said she wants all non-District of Columbia troops out of the city, saying that the National Guard was removed from the hotel due to a budget issue.
“Last night, we were informed that our service members would be relocated from their hotel rooms,” the Utah National Guard stated on Friday.
Maj. Jaime Thomas told Fox News that they will relocate on Friday.
“It has been heartbreaking for our Utah National Guard service members to witness the pain, suffering, and frustration in our communities across the nation,” a spokesperson told Fox News. “The Utah National Guard has been supporting civil authorities with our top priority of protecting lives as well as preserving property and critical infrastructure in our nation’s capital.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) criticized the mayor’s decision.
Senator — until they are recalled home — which I have formally requested from the President, your troops are in DC hotels. However, DC residents cannot pay their hotel bills. The Army can clear that up with the hotel today, and we are willing to help. https://t.co/WZypXMubxl
— Muriel Bowser #StayHomeDC (@MurielBowser) June 5, 2020
“Just heard that Mayor Bowser is kicking the Utah National Guard out of all DC hotels tomorrow. More than 1,200 troops from 10 states are being evicted. This is unacceptable,” Lee wrote on Twitter on Thursday night.
He added that “these brave men and women have risked their lives protecting DC for three days. Rioting, looting, arson, and vandalism have all disappeared bc these soldiers served. And now they are being kicked to the curb by an ungrateful mayor. This must be stopped.”
In a news conference, Bowser said the district had a contract with the Marriott Marquis to house National Guard troops who were supporting the COVID-19 outbreak response.
“At no time did we intend or certainly would be able to affect evicting any guardsmen from any hotel,” Bowser said at a news conference, adding: “Our message to the hotel was that if they’re going to use the rooms that we reserved, then [the other Guard units] have to pay for them or you have to refund us our money. And that we understood it would just be a matter of the Guard or the Army making those arrangements. So those out-of-state troops would be covered either by the Army or their home states, not by D.C. residents,” reported the Salt Lake Tribune.