Biden Apologizes After Guardsmen Sleep in Garage

Several governors recall troops
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2021 4:10 PM CST
Troops Sleeping in Garage Go to Capitol—or Home
First lady Jill Biden surprises National Guard members outside the Capitol with chocolate chip cookies on Friday.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

It's not clear how it happened, but National Guard troops were ordered out of the US Capitol on Thursday and told to sleep on the floor of an unheated parking garage. That caused outrage, some of it from governors, and President Biden has apologized to the chief of the National Guard Bureau. First lady Jill Biden tried to smooth things over with chocolate chip cookies for the troops Friday, the New York Times reports. Several governors remained angry that troops sent to Washington to protect the Capitol and the inauguration were stuck breathing exhaust fumes all night and summoned their troops. "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," said New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican.

Sununu recalled his troops, as did the governors of Texas, Florida, and Montana, though many of the Guardsmen already were scheduled to leave. No one has taken responsibility for the move out of the Capitol, per the Washington Post. The National Guard said the instructions came from the Capitol Police, who denied that account. The Guardsmen have hotel rooms, but they often don't have enough of a break to go to them and instead sleep on the floor somewhere. Members said hundreds slept on the concrete of the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building, sharing a few toilets. A soldier who said he served in Iraq and Afghanistan said, "I've never in my entire career felt like I've been booted onto the curb and told, 'Figure it out on your own.'" Other said it wasn't as bad as it sounds, saying options for thousands of troops are pretty limited in Washington. (Read more National Guard stories.)

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