Who ordered the National Guard troops stuffed into the icy underground parking garage?
Following the strange inauguration of Joe Biden, some 25,000 to 65,000 National Guard troops brought in to guard the Capitol were in for a string of insults. First, their loyalty was questioned. Then their professionalism was questioned. And with no clear purpose for so many of them to protect the Capitol, it was clear they were being used for photo op props, not the service they were sworn to. They found themselves there not to chase off rioters, but to bolster Democrats in their political purpose of smearing Republicans as insurgents.
The final insult came when someone ordered them to get lost from the Capitol. Like discarded props, or no longer welcome valets, more than a thousand were ordered into an icy underground parking garage to stay out of sight, out of mind. They had no heat, just one bathroom for 5,000 personnel, and only one outlet. They had no internet and no beds, forcing them to sleep on hard ground in 38-degree cold. COVID was present, making the harsh conditions a potential superspreader event.
Upstairs the beautiful people in monochrome colors, heat, fancy bathrooms, and tons of snacks carried on as usual. It's good to be the elite.
According to Politico, who asked a Guardsman what was going on:
"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. We feel incredibly betrayed," the Guardsman said.
Four governors called their National Guardsmen back, with Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis summing it up with this: "They are soldiers. They're not Nancy Pelosi's servants."
Finally, someone on Team Biden told doddering old Joe there was a public relations problem, and Biden reportedly called the National Guard commander to apologize. We don't have a quote, so we don't know if he really apologized, but the press barreled ahead to claim it was that. Around the same time, wife Jill, whoops, that's Dr. Jill Biden, was dispatched to meet a few of the Guard on the outside grounds, to distribute a basket of cookies. Based on the size of her basket, it didn't look like enough to feed 65,000; it was just enough for the cameras. And no, she didn't take that basket into the garage; she just served the cookies to the Guards guarding, out on the Capitol lawn.
What's vivid here is how many Democrats fell over themselves to claim they didn't like it and didn't do it.
Besides a lot of Republicans, House leftist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted "yeah this is not okay" and offered the Guard the use of her office couch, along with a lot of snacks.
President Trump, however, apparently got there first, offering the Guard the luxurious accommodations of the nearby Trump hotel for free. Nice try, Sandy.
Meanwhile, another leftist, Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.) went out of his way to deny that he was the one who did it, as Breitbart News reported, having gone "Karen" by loudly confronting a National Guardsman in a Dunkin Donuts not wearing a mask, and at least appealing to the management — he said Joe Biden signed a mask mandate, so it was very important to him to intervene. In any case, he said the Guards were just resting and never were sleeping on the floor, so nothing bad went on.
According to the Boston Herald:
Keating said he was in a coffee shop in the House with a large number of people on Thursday when he saw some not wearing masks. President Biden on Wednesday had signed an executive order mandating mask wearing on federal property.
"I commented — to no one in particular — that this has the ingredients of a super-spreader event and we should all keep our masks on. A member of the National Guard chose to loudly refuse," said Keating, who makes at least $174,000 a year as a congressman and earns a state pension of nearly $114,000 as a former district attorney, according to the comptroller's office.
"That is the totality of what took place," Keating said. "Over 400,000 people have already died in this country, roughly 4,000 a day, due to COVID, and if I were in the same situation today, I would say the exact same thing."
Whoever it was who ordered the National Guard into the garage is not owning up to it. The media are incurious — not a single reporter asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki about it — but after so many indignities connected to the Biden inaugural, the Guard would surely have a right to know.
What's known so far is that members of the Guard said the Capitol Police ordered it, but the Capitol Police chief explicitly denied it. Chief Yogananda Pittmann said she "temporarily" ordered them to a garage where there were heat and bathroom facilities, so nothing bad happened, but the Guard said there was neither. This, like Keating's qualifiers, doesn't quite sound like a denial.
Whether Pittmann was acting on her own or at the behest of House speaker Nancy Pelosi is an interesting question, given Pelosi's role in controlling the Capitol Police. Pelosi hasn't said anything on her Twitter feed, or apparently anywhere else. She praised the Guard a few days ago, but she blasted them last summer when President Trump called them in to protect federal property.
According to the Washington Examiner, a low-level Capitol police officer acting outside the chain of command is the goat who did it, and in any case, he was sending them to a nice place with heat, not what was really a freezing parking garage. This sounds like more spin, given that nobody knows who the little fellow is.
Whatever happened, it sounds like the doings of the Democrats, who used the Guard and then tried to bury them underground, out of sight, out of mind. That sets a mighty interesting tone for the incoming Biden administration. It might just be the first thing it's remembered for.
Image credit: CBS This Morning video screen shot via shareable YouTube.