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Rep. Beth Van Duyne Wants Investigation After National Guard Members Protecting US Capitol Sent To Garage For Breaks

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - North Texas congresswoman Beth Van Duyne, Republican of the 24th congressional district, is among the lawmakers calling for an investigation after thousands of National Guard Members protecting the U.S. Capitol were ordered to take their rest breaks from the cold in a nearby parking garage.

Photos show troops laying on the concrete.

During a news conference in Fort Worth Friday morning, Van Duyne said, "I'm looking for an investigation to find out why they were treated the way that they were. I don't think there's an excuse for it."

She's not alone.

Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted Thursday night, "I have instructed General Norris to order the return of the Texas National Guard to our state."

The Governor's Press Secretary, Renae Eze, issued a statement late Friday afternoon. "The Lone Star State sent 1,345 Texas National Guard to Washington, DC to bolster security efforts for the presidential inauguration. Leaving our brave men and women to sleep in parking garages is utterly disrespectful, and they deserve so much better from those they protect. The Governor did right by the Texas National Guard and recalled them yesterday for critical missions here in the state including serving on the front lines of the pandemic response."

Other elected officials took to Twitter.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said, "This should never have been an issue, but glad to hear they have been welcomed back inside the Capitol."

Congressman Colin Allred, Democrat of the 32nd congressional district, tweeted, "This is unacceptable. There is plenty of space and we are so grateful to have these troops protecting the Capitol. I'll happily offer my office if it's needed.."

Republican U.S Rep. Ron Wright of the 6th congressional district said, "This is shameful and unacceptable. After these men and women have spent long, exhausting days defending our nation's Capitol, we are told they were sent to rest in parking garages. Whoever made this decision must be held accountable."

Van Duyne said, "Coming from an Air Force family and understanding the military, I don't know that we can do enough to show our respect and we need to work on it a lot more."

After the political uproar Thursday night, the Capitol police welcomed National Guard troops back into the Capitol building to take their rest breaks.

On Friday morning, the acting Capitol police chief said the department did not order Guard members to leave.

After their shifts, the Guard members have been staying in hotels.

State Sen. Kelly Hancock of North Richland Hills said Friday he's glad the governor requested the troops return home. "Well, they'll get treated better when they come home, obviously."

Hancock said during the protests against police brutality at the Texas Capitol last summer, the National Guard protected the grounds and took rest breaks from the intense heat inside the Capitol building.

He said some chose on their own to lay on the floor and that lawmakers wanted to help. "It was amazing, as an elected official, in a really a bipartisan effort, what you saw was Democrats, Republicans offering their offices, their committee rooms, anything needed for those who are protecting the Capitol."

Because of the pandemic, Hancock said the troops were concerned they might spread the virus, and so they declined the lawmakers' invitations to rest in their offices and committee rooms. "This is the type of individuals that we have serving and protecting us, which is what you want, is that they're going to put others' health and safety above their own."


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