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Guard troops forced to leave Capitol building, rest in parking garage sparks bipartisan outrage

"They deserve to be treated with respect, and we deserve answers" – House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

Updated: January 23, 2021 - 8:48pm

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Thousands of National Guard troops protecting the Capitol Hill complex during inauguration week were temporarily forced Thursday night to leave the buildings, sparking outrage among the troops and Congress.

“Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer – why are American troops who are tasked with keeping security at the Capitol being forced to sleep in a parking lot? They deserve to be treated with respect, and we deserve answers,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, in a tweet, asked the two leaders of the Democrat-controlled Congress.

U.S. Capitol Police officials ordered the troops to vacate the facilities, sending them outdoors or to nearby parking garages, according to Politico. 

"Yeah this is not okay," tweeted New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. "My office is free this week to any service members who’d like to use it for a break or take nap on the couch. We’ll stock up on snacks for you all too."

As many as 25,000 Guard troops arrived in Washington, D.C., after the U.S. Capitol Building was breached Jan. 6 and to secure much of the district ahead of the Inauguration Day, on Wednesday.

A Guardsman told Politico that a unit resting in the Dirksen Senate Office Building was forced into a nearby parking garage with no internet reception, just one electrical outlet, and one bathroom with two stalls for 5,000 troops, amid 40-degree temperatures.

"Troops are out of the garage and back into the Capitol building as authorized by the USCP (U.S. Capitol Police) Watch Commander and the troops will take their breaks near Emancipation Hall going forward,"  the Guard said later in a statement obtained by CBS News.

Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott late Thursday instructed the leader of the state's National Guard to bring troops home.

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