National Guard troops were forced to evacuate the Capitol building grounds on Thursday and hang out in parking garages, allegedly after a Democrat congressman complained about one National Guard member not wearing a mask at a cafe in the building.
According to a source, Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA) reported to the Capitol building authorities earlier in the day that a National Guardsman was seen in a Dunkin Donuts without a mask on.
After Keating commented out loud that masks were required to be worn at all times in a federal building, the National Guard member responded, “I appreciate my freedom,” according to the source.
National Guard commanders are now looking for the National Guard member, according to the source.
Breitbart News reviewed communications by National Guard officials regarding the situation with Keating.
Keating had just thanked members of the National Guard on Wednesday:
Breitbart News reached out to Keating’s press secretary but did not receive a response.
Another source told Breitbart News that the situation is “being worked to fix it.”
Pictures of the conditions National Guardsmen were subjected to emerged on social media earlier on Thursday:
Other members of Congress — Republicans and Democrats alike — have expressed outrage about the treatment of the National Guard and are demanding answers on what happened.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) tweeted that he brought pizza to the abandoned National Guard members and offered his office for them to sleep in. The tweet also included a video.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) tweeted late Thursday night that he has ordered the return of the Texas National Guard to the state.
More than 26,000 National Guard forces were deployed to Washington, DC, to assist federal law enforcement authorities protect the inauguration of Joe Biden as president.
In advance of the inauguration, thousands of forces were seen resting inside the Capitol.
Some members of Congress, including Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) — himself a member of the National Guard — treated them to pizza. Others, such as Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), gave them tours of the Capitol.
Now, a day after the inauguration, they are being relegated to parking garages.
Politico reported that the number of National Guard members forced to evacuate the Capitol was in the “thousands,” with one unit of 5,000 troops forced to rest in a parking garage without internet reception and with just one electrical outlet and one bathroom with two stalls.
“Yesterday dozens of senators and congressmen walked down our lines taking photos, shaking our hands and thanking us for our service. Within 24 hours, they had no further use for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage. We feel incredibly betrayed,” one Guardsman told Politico.
Separately, the National Guard announced Thursday in a press release that 15,000 National Guardsmen are being sent back home, from the m0re than 26,000 sent to D.C. for the inauguration. The remaining 10,600 are still on duty, with that number to eventually go down to about 7,000 near the end of the month.