Another day, another debacle, or so it seems to go with the Biden administration running the show. From Inauguration Day riots – by leftists – to Joe Biden violating his own mask mandate at the Lincoln Memorial, the new regime is off to a rough start. In the latest episode of the nation’s newest soap opera, a unit of 5,000 National Guard soldiers, nearly a fifth of the more than 26,000 soldiers brought in to fortify and defend Biden’s inauguration, took shelter in a parking garage after thousands were evicted from the Capitol by the United States Capitol Police (USCP) – allegedly because a House Democrat complained.
They have since been invited – and ordered – to go back to using the Capitol Visitor Center, but only after POLITICO reported the situation. Unfortunately for the Biden administration, the damage may already be done. Republican Governors Ron DeSantis of Florida, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, and Greg Abbott of Texas all reacted to the way their troops had been treated by ordering them to head home. Could this drive a wedge between red states and the federal government? In any case, it doesn’t look like the start of a beautiful friendship.
POLITICO initially reported that soldiers claimed thousands had been told to leave the Capitol by the police and that a unit of 5,000 had moved into a parking garage. That’s no beds, minimal protection from the elements in the middle of winter, and but a single two-stall bathroom to share among themselves.
“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,” one Guardsman allegedly told POLITICO, adding that they felt “incredibly betrayed.”
According to Breitbart, the cause was a complaint by Rep. Will Keating (D-MA). The story goes that the congressman saw a soldier not wearing a mask in a Dunkin Donuts and commented loudly that masks were required at all times in any federal building. The soldier allegedly responded: “I appreciate my freedom.” After this incident, the National Guard announced that USCP had ordered the troops to stop resting inside the Capitol during their 12-hour shifts and to head for the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Center parking garage.
Misunderstanding or Misdirection?
After the media reports went live, USCP Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told a different story:
“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. And on Inauguration Day, the Guard was notified and encouraged to reoccupy the spaces in the Capitol and CVC at 2 p.m.”
Between the police statement and the soldiers’ claims, it’s hard to tell whether this was all just a big misunderstanding or if the chief was running damage control. Congressional Democrats from both houses condemned the situation. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said: “If this is true, it’s outrageous. I will get to the bottom of this.”
Republicans acted as well – many offering up the use of their own congressional offices so the troops could enjoy a bit more comfort, not to mention reasonable bathroom access. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) bought pizza to the troops in the garage. Donald Trump – their former commander in chief – offered Trump Hotel D.C. as troop housing.
With everyone acting in such a public manner – often tweeting about it – it’s hard to tell who’s genuine and who is merely taking advantage of a golden PR opportunity. Still, the optics aren’t good for team Biden.
Whatever the true reason those soldiers bunked in the garage, the three states led by Republican governors have recalled their troops. Govs. Abbott, DeSantis, and Sununu reacted with outrage at the treatment and instructed their generals to order the troops home. The National Guard announced that 15,000 soldiers were leaving the capital. This leaves more than 10,000 troops in the Swamp, with all but about 7,000 to head home around the end of the month.
DeSantis and Abbott also condemned conducting background checks on the soldiers. Before heading to defend the new president at and after his inauguration, Guardsmen had to undergo background checks to screen for “radicalism” – presumably, any signs that the soldier was a Trump supporter or conservative in general would have been considered evidence of such dangerous ideology.
Unity? Forget It!
Anti-Trump activists across the political spectrum spent four years terrorizing the president of the United States, his employees, and any American citizen who dared show support for him. Now that the Democrats hold sway over the Swamp, many – though certainly not all – of them preach unity. But conservatives take this in stride; if it weren’t for double standards, the left wouldn’t have any standards at all, it seems. Still, this situation, its alleged cause, and the responses from both Democrats and Republicans don’t exactly smooth the way to uniting the people of this nation who stand on opposite sides of the ideological divide. Remember: Former President Trump and the Republicans offered to house the troops, not current President Biden and the Democrats.
And what of the Union itself? There are those in each party who call for secession whenever the other side comes out on top, but does this recall of troops from red states demonstrate a rift between Republican-led states and the federal government? Whatever the case, Biden – long touted as a master at reaching across the aisle to get things done – thus far seems ill-equipped to unite the people and heal the divide.
Read more from James Fite.