Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has ordered more than 600 National Guard troops to return home from Washington, DC following controversial reports of soldiers being forced out of the Capitol and into parking garages.
DeSantis questioned the reason for troops being in DC at all, calling it a “half-cocked mission at this point” during a Friday appearance on ‘Fox & Friends’.
“They are soldiers,” the governor said. “They are not Nancy Pelosi’s servants.”
Over 20,000 soldiers were brought to DC following the US Capitol riot on January 6, and many remained in place for Joe Biden’s recent inauguration.
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Many people expressed outrage this week after it was reported that hundreds of soldiers were told to leave the US Capitol, where they had been housed for weeks, and to find accommodations elsewhere, with some having to resort to nearby parking garages.
Hours after the story broke and numerous politicians voiced their disapproval of the treatment, US Capitol Police apologized and allowed the Guardsmen back into the building.
DeSantis has still ordered troops home, expressing outrage with far more than just the housing treatment.
Last night, I ordered our Adjutant General to bring Florida National Guard soldiers home from the National Capital Region.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) January 22, 2021
The governor took issue with reports that the FBI was vetting soldiers for extremist political beliefs ahead of Biden’s inauguration. This led to 12 soldiers being removed from the assignment over statements made in social media posts or through text.
“(In) Florida, we did not let them go into their political beliefs,” he said. “I thought that was totally inappropriate. I thought it was very disrespectful for people who are clearly patriots.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has also ordered National Guard troops to return home, similarly targeting their treatment, including the security screenings, calling it “offensive.”
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
According to a new report from Politico, Guardsmen flying in and out of DC have led to worries of a Covid spread, with some troops being pressured to leave quarantines early to report for duty and others having to resort to getting their own tests. Military leadership has not revealed if any have tested positive from the trip, but reports indicate the conditions troops have had to deal with have prevented them from adhering to social distancing and other pandemic safety precautions.
“We did not get Covid tests on arrival,” one anonymous Guardsman said. “Right after the holidays they packed us together like sardines in buses and rooms for this.”
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