Republican governors of New Hampshire, Florida, Texas and Montana all now have said they’re calling Guardsmen from their states home. Some 7,000 will remain in D.C. through Feb. 6.
At least four governors say they’re ordering National Guard troops out of Washington, D.C., after thousands of Guardsmen were sent from the U.S. Capitol outdoors or to parking garages earlier this week.
Republican governors Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, Ron DeSantis of Florida, Greg Abbott of Texas and Greg Gianforte of Montana all now have said they’re calling Guard members from their states home. More than 20,000 National Guardsmen were in D.C. ahead of President Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday for enhanced security after the deadly riots at the Capitol Jan. 6.
Roughly 7,000 troops will remain in D.C. until Feb. 6 to continue to help federal law enforcement agencies with post-inauguration riot security, Guard spokesperson Maj. Matthew Murphy said in a statement. Of those, 5,000 will will stay until mid-March. The troops will provide security, communications, medical evacuation, logistics and safety support to local and federal agencies, he said.
The majority of the troops staying in D.C. will be on a volunteer basis, but several groups have been involuntarily extended through Feb. 6, according to two Guard members, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the topic.
On Thursday, Guard members were abruptly called to leave the Dirksen Senate Office building and vacated into a parking garage, a Guardsman previously told POLITICO. There were about 5,000 troops in a garage without internet and one bathroom with two stalls, with chilly nighttime temperatures, the Guardsman said.
“They don’t complain but it’s my job to really protect the team and make sure they are not put into those substandard conditions, so we pulled them out,” Sununu said on Fox & Friends on Saturday morning. “If there’s another call, there’s another mission we’re always going to be there, absolutely. But I just needed to make sure we weren’t being part of a broken system.”
DeSantis called the deployment a “half-cocked mission at this point” and said it was time to bring the Guardsmen home.
“These folks are soldiers,” DeSantis said on Fox News on Friday morning. “They’re not Nancy Pelosi’s servants. This comes on the back end of them trying to investigative the backgrounds of our guardsmen. Florida, we did not let them go into their political beliefs. That was totally inappropriate.”
One Guard member whose unit has been involuntarily extended through Feb. 6 said morale was already low due to the long hours and poor conditions. The extension is a new hardship, particularly during a devastating pandemic in which many of the citizen-soldiers would rather be home with their families.
“The treatment we’ve received lately and the Covid symptoms we face are taking their toll. Especially as it becomes clear to us that we are no longer wanted,” the person said. “It’s shameful.”
Abbott said the Guard troops had to go through a “political correctness test.”
“These are men and women who should be respected and not denigrated,” Abbott said on Hannity on Friday. “These are men and women who have served in Afghanistan and overseas and yet they are forced to sleep in a parking garage.” (Click to Source)