Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered members of the Texas National Guard to return from Washington, D.C., after U.S. Capitol Police forced thousands of soldiers to sleep and rest in a parking garage.
“I have instructed General Norris to order the return of the Texas National Guard to our state,” Abbott wrote on Twitter on Thursday night.
I have instructed General Norris to order the return of the Texas National Guard to our state. @TexasGuard
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 22, 2021
National Guardsmen were dispatched to the nation’s capital weeks ago to handle security in the lead up to the inauguration following a riot that breached the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6. Thousands of guardsmen have patrolled Washington, D.C., and been forced to sleep on the floors of federal buildings.
On Thursday, U.S. Capitol Police officials kicked thousands of guardsmen out of the federal buildings where they had been resting and relegated to parking garages. As Politico reports:
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.
Hours later and after outcry from numerous elected officials, the guardsmen were allowed back into the buildings to rest and the Capitol Police apologized for the incident.
“The troops who had been taking rest breaks outside and in parking garages on Capitol Police orders have been given an apology and are being moved back to the Capitol complex and Capitol Visitor Center,” freshman Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) tweeted.
On Monday, Abbott threatened to “never” send Texas National Guard troops to Washington, D.C., again over reports that the Defense Department and FBI were screening the troops for extremist ties. As The Daily Wire reports:
Notably, service members are already screened for ties to extremism or other potential flags. Thus, the latest screenings seem to be excessive and perhaps linked to suspicion directed at supporters of President Donald Trump after the Capitol riot. The Associated Press in a Monday report on the screening, for example, named supporters of the president as potential threats to a Biden inauguration.
“This is the most offensive thing I’ve ever heard. No one should ever question the loyalty or professionalism of the Texas National Guard,” Abbott tweeted on Monday. “I authorized more than 1,000 to go to DC. I’ll never do it again if they are disrespected like this.”
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) suggested on Monday that any members of the National Guard who voted for former President Donald Trump should be scrutinized as people who “might want to do something” at Biden’s inauguration.
“You know, I was thinking, the [National] Guard is 90 some odd percent I believe male, only about 20 percent of white males voted for Biden. You got to figure that in the Guard which is predominately more conservative, that I see that on my social media and we know it,” Cohen said on CNN. “There’s probably not more than 25 percent of the people that are there protecting us who voted for Biden. The other 75 percent are in the class that would be the large class of folks who might want to do something.”