As if being relegated to underground parking garages wasn't bad enough, now reports are surfacing that at least 100 of our brave National Guard troops in Washington, D.C. have tested positive for COVID-19, with several hundred others quarantining in nearby hotels, after being called to defend the nation's capital this week.
Already, hundreds of Guard members who poured into Washington, D.C., after the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol have tested positive for Covid-19 or are quarantining in nearby hotels, three Guard sources said. Guard leadership has declined to release an official number of positive cases, but troops and lawmakers alike worry that the deployment is becoming a superspreader event.
The spread of COVID may have been ignited by the close quarters the troops experienced this week following President Biden's inauguration. Nearly 25,000 troops were in Washington, D.C. to help prevent another deadly riot like the one we witnessed on January 6.
“We did not get Covid tests on arrival,” one Guard member told Politico. “Right after the holidays they packed us together like sardines in buses and rooms for this.”
Bipartisan outrage erupted Thursday night when lawmakers found out that National Guard troops were forced out of Capitol facilities and into mobile command centers, hotels and even parking garages. One unit of 5,000 troops was reportedly kept in a garage with only one bathroom. Everyone from Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) to Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) agreed that this kind of treatment was disgraceful and unacceptable.
Our troops deserve the utmost honor & respect for securing the Capitol & defending democracy this week.— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) January 22, 2021
This is unconscionable & unsafe. Whoever’s decision this was to house our National Guardsmen & women in underground parking lots must be held accountable. pic.twitter.com/mBwpoog6YC
Unreal. I can’t believe that the same brave servicemembers we’ve been asking to protect our Capitol and our Constitution these last two weeks would be unceremoniously ordered to vacate the building. I am demanding answers ASAP. They can use my office. https://t.co/GlSSx9nqXo— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) January 22, 2021
Thankfully, the troops were moved back inside later that evening.
According to Fox News reporter Peter Doocy, President Biden called National Guard General Daniel Hokanson on Friday to talk about the images he’d seen of troops sleeping outside the Capitol.
It’s time to welcome our TN National Guard soldiers & airmen home today after their mission in DC. Very disappointed in the way this mission came to a close & the overall treatment of the National Guard in DC. Tennesseans are proud of our men and women in uniform. @TNMilitaryDept— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) January 22, 2021