The day after National Guard troops were ordered to move out of the Dirkson Senate building in Washington and into a nearby parking garage, officials from the Capitol Police said the department was not responsible for the public relations fiasco.
“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,” Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman posted on the department’s website Friday morning. “And on Inauguration Day, the Guard was notified and encouraged to reoccupy the spaces in the Capitol and CVC at 2 p.m.”
Pittman’s statement appears to contradict what National Guard officials said Thursday evening.
Thursday evening, after National Guard troops began complaining about being moved out of the Capitol complex to the parking garage of the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Office Building, the National Guard Bureau said the move was the result of a request from Capitol Police.
“As Congress is in session and increased foot traffic and business is being conducted, Capitol Police asked the troops to move their rest area,” the National Guard Bureau statement read. “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.”
National Guard Bureau spokesman Wayne Hall said the move was made without the knowledge of lawmakers.
“Our understanding is that the unfortunate request for the National Guard to be relocated was made to the Capitol Police by a couple of staffers, without the knowledge of the Congressional members,” he said in a statement to Military Times. “This morning, all of the break areas used by the National Guard on duty at the Capitol are inside buildings.”