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Outrage After National Guard Relocated To Parking Garage To Rest; NH Orders Troops Home

CONCORD, N.H. (CBS) -- There's outrage across the country after thousands of National Guard troops who had been protecting the Capitol were asked to rest in a parking garage. Capitol police requested that troops leave the building instead of resting in the hallways.

As images of the situation circulated online, lawmakers lashed out.

"If this is true, it's outrageous," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted.

CBS News reported that some guardsmen expressed displeasure at being moved to a parking garage. The garage has heat and lights, but there are limited restrooms, cell phone and internet service and power outlets.

"This is outrageous, shameful, and incredibly disrespectful to the men and women keeping the U.S. Capitol safe and secure," tweeted Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat. "We need it fixed and we need answers on how it happened."

"This is unconscionable & unsafe. Whoever's decision this was to house our National Guardsmen & women in underground parking lots must be held accountable," South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott tweeted.

Late Thursday night, troops were allowed to return to the Capitol. Now Capitol police are asking for Guard members' shifts to be shortened to give them more time to rest off-site.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu on Friday morning said he has taken action to bring all NH National Guardsmen and women home.

"I've ordered the immediate return of all New Hampshire National Guardsmen and women from Washington DC," Sununu said in a statement. "They did an outstanding job serving our nation's capital in a time of strife and should be graciously praised, not subject to substandard conditions."

The New Hampshire National Guard said the team of 50 is scheduled to fly back to the state Saturday following Sununu's order. The Guard said "spirits have remained high despite 36-hour shifts, sleeping in parking garages, and changing missions."

A spokesperson for Rep. Lori Trahan said the Congresswoman "vehemently opposes" the decision to relocate the Guard, and said she is also calling for answers. She was able to confirm that Massachusetts National Guard members were not ordered to relocate from their rest area in the House office building near the Capitol.

Massachusetts National Guard members are on track to return home Saturday, as originally scheduled.


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