Jan 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

National Guard asks public to halt donations for Capitol troops

Lawmakers hand out pizza to national guard

Reps. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) and Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) feed members of the Delaware National Guard on Wednesday. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Shocking images of members of the National Guard sleeping in the Capitol have prompted donations to make them more comfortable, but authorities are asking the public to curb their generosity.

What they’re saying: “While we appreciate the many offers and people who care about our soldiers and airmen, we are not logistically able to accept donations of any kind," a National Guard spokesperson told Axios.

Photographers entering the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to cover President Trump’s impeachment proceedings were confronted with hundreds of gun-toting, uniformed troops who were sleeping on the floor of the adjacent Capitol Visitors Center.

  • Up to 21,000 troops from Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Virginia have been brought in to augment the Washington National Guard.
  • The Guard spokesperson would not specify what additional states would be added to the list as more forces arrived.

The spokesperson said the Visitors Center has been designated as a rest area for the National Guard members when they are on duty but between shifts. Troop members have other sleeping accommodations - mostly in rotation at downtown hotels.

  • "Being present is the first step in ensuring the safety of our citizens and our nation’s capital," the spokesperson told Axios. "Our security personnel work in shifts and rest when they can as others stand watch."
  • “Our soldiers and airmen on the ground are receiving meals at the D.C. Armory when their shifts change. They are also being provided hot meals, or MREs, [meals ready to eat] when they are on duty in the capital region. The well-being of our soldiers and airmen is of paramount importance while we support our district and federal partners.”
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