Texas Congressman Opens Office to National Guardsmen: ‘Beer & Lunch Meat Are in the Fridge, Help Yourself’

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 12: Rep.-elect Tony Gonzales (R-TX) arrives to the Hyatt Regency hotel on Capitol Hill on November 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. Orientation begins for the newly-elected members today and will run through Nov. 21. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) offered his office to National Guardsmen late Thursday evening after members were forced to leave the Capitol grounds because of a prior complaint from a Democrat congressman, who allegedly took issue after spotting a maskless Guardsman in a cafe earlier in the day.

“To any members of the National Guard protecting our Capitol — if you need a warm place to rest and recharge, my office is open to you,” Gonzales said late Thursday as pictures began to emerge on social media showing soldiers sleeping in a parking garage as D.C. temperatures dipped into the 40s.

“Mi casa es su casa. Beer & lunch meat are in the fridge, help yourself,” he added:

The evacuation, forcing troops to a parking garage, apparently followed an alleged complaint from Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA), who reportedly took issue with a National Guard member who was spotted in a Dunkin Donuts without a mask on. Keating reportedly made a remark out loud, stating that masks are required to be worn at all times in a federal building. According to a source, the member responded, “I appreciate my freedom.”

According to Politico, “one unit, which had been resting in the Dirksen Senate Office building, was abruptly told to vacate the facility on Thursday, according to one Guardsman”:

The group was forced to rest in a nearby parking garage without internet reception, with just one electrical outlet, and one bathroom with two stalls for 5,000 troops, the person said. Temperatures in Washington were in the low 40s by nightfall.

“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,” the Guardsman said.

Guardsmen have since been allowed to reenter the Capitol, according to reports:

“Absolutely outrageous that this even happened in the first place. Our troops deserve much better than this and I’ll be pressing the proper officials to look into what caused this,” Gonzales vowed Friday morning:

Others, including Democrat lawmakers, also expressed outrage. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), for example, offered her office to National Guard members. Freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorne (R-NC) brought members pizza and opened up his office as well:

Republican Govs. Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott have since ordered their state’s troops home.

“They’re soldiers. They’re not Nancy Pelosi’s servants,” DeSantis said during a Friday morning appearance on Fox & Friends.

“And this comes on the backend of them trying to investigate the backgrounds of our guardsmen,” he continued. [In] Florida, we did not let them go into their political beliefs. I thought that was totally inappropriate. I thought it was very disrespectful for people who are clearly patriots.”

“So this is a half-cocked mission at this point and I think the appropriate thing is to bring them home,” DeSantis added:


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