Fed-up Republican governors pull Guard troops from ‘half-cocked’ mission in DC

The governors of Texas, New Hampshire, and Florida have ordered their National Guard troops sent to assist with security ahead of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, home after some soldiers were banished from federal buildings overnight and forced to camp in parking garages.

“I have instructed General Norris to order the return of the Texas National Guard to our state,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) wrote on Twitter late Thursday.

“Last night, I ordered our Adjutant General to bring Florida National Guard soldiers home from the National Capital Region,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a tweet Thursday as well.

He also blasted background checks of Guard troops by the FBI in searching for radicalism before the inauguration, calling the entire deployment of more than 25,000 troops a “half-cocked mission at this point.”

Abbott also ripped the decision to screen Guard troops for so-called ‘extremist’ views, calling it “the most offensive thing I’ve ever heard.”

A dozen Guard personnel deployed to protect the Capitol eventually were relieved of duty and sent home for “extremist” views, but it is unclear what those views are and who flagged them.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, also a Republican, ordered his Guard troops to return home, saying they “should be graciously praised, not subject to substandard conditions.”

On Thursday, the U.S. Capitol Police ordered troops to move their rest area during 12-hour shifts from inside the Capitol Building to a parking garage at the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Center, the National Guard Bureau said.

“As Congress is in session and increased foot traffic and business is being conducted, Capitol Police asked the troops to move their rest area,” Guard spokesperson Maj. Matt Murphy said. “They were temporarily relocated to the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Center garage with heat and restroom facilities. We remain an agile and flexible force to provide for the safety and security of the Capitol and its surrounding areas.”

Acting USCP Chief Yogananda Pittman refuted that claim in a statement, however.

“I want to assure everyone that, with the exception of specific times on Inauguration Day itself while the swearing-in ceremonies were underway, the United States Capitol Police did not instruct the National Guard to vacate the Capitol Building facilities,” said Pittman. “And on Inauguration Day, the Guard was notified and encouraged to reoccupy the spaces in the Capitol and CVC at 2 p.m.”

One Guardsman told Politico, however, that some troops felt “betrayed.”

“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.

The order moving troops to the garage — while overnight temps in D.C. approached freezing — drew bipartisan outrage.

“Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer—why are American troops who are tasked with keeping security at the Capitol being forced to sleep in a parking lot? They deserve to be treated with respect, and we deserve answers,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tweeted.

“If this is true, it’s outrageous,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) responded. “I will get to the bottom of this.”

Fox News added: “Also condemning the situation were Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va.; Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; John Boozman, R-Ark.; and Maggie, Hassan, D-N.H., among other senators, and a litany of House members.”

It also drew a solution — from former President Donald Trump, according to Graham Allen, a Talking Points USA contributor and founder of Nine Twelve United.

“Trump has given permission for the Troops to stay at Trump hotel in DC,” he wrote on Twitter, citing reports. “REAL LEADER.”

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Jon Dougherty

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