Thousands of national guards were “banished” to a cramped parking garage after they were suddenly forced to leave parts of the U.S. Capitol area on Thursday, according to reports.
Officers were told they could no longer access areas of the U.S. Capitol Complex – including a Senate cafeteria formerly used as a resting place – after tirelessly protecting the country’s capital in the days leading up to the president’s inauguration, according to Politico.
“We honestly just feel betrayed,” a security guard told the outlet. “After everything went smoothly, we were considered useless and banished to a corner of a parking garage.”
A unit of 5,000 officers – joined after the deadly US Capitol breach earlier this month – was forced to take breaks in a nearby garage with no internet reception, a single electrical outlet and only two bathroom stalls.
Photos appear to show officers lying on the cement ground to rest and sleep while leaning against concrete pillars inside the garage, making some officers angry.
“We feel incredibly betrayed,” said one guard. “Yesterday, dozens of senators and members of Congress walked down our lines and took photos, shook our hands and thanked us for our service. Within 24 hours they had no further need for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage. ”
Approximately 25,000 National Guard troops were called to Washington DC from all 50 states to protect the city during the inauguration of President Joe Biden due to increased security concerns following the deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 that claimed the lives of five people.
Many of these officers had used a café in the Dirksen Senate’s office building as a place to relax during breaks and connect to the Internet, only to be ordered to leave the Capitol and nearby convention buildings Thursday afternoon, officers said.
The National Guard Bureau said the troop had been temporarily relocated because Congress is in session.
The National Guard continues to assist and support the U.S. Capitol Police. “As Congress is in session and increased foot traffic and business is going on, the Capitol Police asked the police to move their resting places,” the National Guard Bureau said in a statement. “They were temporarily moved to the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Center garage with heating and toilet facilities. We remain an agile and flexible force to ensure the safety of the Capitol and its surrounding areas. ”
But the incident sparked anger among some lawmakers who promised to find them a way to stay inside the Capitol building.
“My office is accessible; The guard is welcome to it. There is plenty of room in the American Capitol for men and women to keep us safe, ”Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) tweeted on Thursday night.
A spokesman for the U.S. National Guard later told a FOX News reporter that troops are likely to be relocated to the Capitol Visitor Center in anger over the garage situation.