Two Democratic House members sent a letter to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy on Thursday, asking him to provide cots to members of the National Guard deployed at the U.S. Capitol so they don’t have to sleep on the floor.
“After the horrific events of January 6th, the Congress is grateful to have National Guard troops assisting in the protection of the Capitol. We were disappointed though to see in a variety of images in the media, that Guard personnel are having to take breaks or rest on the floors of the Capitol,” Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Betty McCollum wrote in their letter. “Staff were on the call with Vice Chief of Staff, General Martin, and understand that not all Guard personnel currently have secured lodging, and that the Army is considering utilizing the convention center for lodging.”
Their note further read: “With the uncertainty for needed rest and recoup time in flux, and to ensure that the Guard members are fully able to execute their protection mission, we urge you to make available cots or other equipment to more easily facilitate their ability to rest while they are on Capitol grounds.”
The letter comes shortly after photos and videos circulated across social media showing members of the National Guard sleeping on the floors of the Capitol. They were deployed to Washington D.C., following the January 6 riot when supporters of President Donald Trump breached the building in protest of certifying President-elect Joe Biden‘s victory.
In a tweet posted with a screenshot of the letter, McCollum wrote: “After seeing images of National Guard troops sleeping on the floor of the Capitol, @RosaDeLauro & I wrote to the Army Secretary to request cots & other equipment so they can get the rest they need. My deepest thanks to our citizen soldiers protecting the Capitol & our democracy.”
After seeing images of National Guard troops sleeping on the floor of the Capitol, @RosaDeLauro & I wrote to the Army Secretary to request cots & other equipment so they can get the rest they need. My deepest thanks to our citizen soldiers protecting the Capitol & our democracy. pic.twitter.com/1oS25Av3bJ
— Rep. Betty McCollum (@BettyMcCollum04) January 14, 2021
Newsweek was directed to McCollum’s tweet after reaching out to her office for comment.
DeLauro posted a similar tweet in which she wrote: “Like so many, I was disappointed to see them resting on the marble floors. We must ensure they are comfortable as they protect our democracy.”
I share @BettyMcCollum04‘s gratitude for the National Guard members protecting our Capitol. Like so many, I was disappointed to see them resting on the marble floors. We must ensure they are comfortable as they protect our democracy. https://t.co/FzodO4DMrZ
— Rosa DeLauro (@rosadelauro) January 14, 2021
Newsweek reached out to DeLauro for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Roughly 15,000 National Guardsmen were deployed to the city earlier this week. Amid reports of potential violent protests during Biden’s upcoming inauguration, an additional 5,000 were deployed as Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee stated on Wednesday that “upwards beyond 20,000 members of the National Guard that will be here in the footprint of the District of Columbia.”
In response to the photos showing members of the National Guard sleeping on the Capitol floor, the D.C. National Guard explained in a statement on Wednesday: “The U.S. Capitol Police designated rest areas for National Guardsmen when they are on duty and between shifts. To be clear, this is not where they are lodged when off-duty.”
“Our security personnel work through stations in order to remain sharp and vigilant, and rest when they can while others stand watch,” it added.
Newsweek reached out to the Army’s press office for a comment from McCarthy, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
2 House Dems Request Cots From Army Sec. So National Guardsmen Don’t Sleep on Capitol Floor The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Newsweek.