Biden apologizes to National Guard chief after 5,000 soldiers had to reportedly sleep in a DC parking garage with only one bathroom
- President Joe Biden called the National Guard's chief on Friday to issue an apology.
- Earlier this week, photos circulated on social media of troops sleeping on the floor of parking lots.
- National Guard members were forced to vacate the Capitol on Thursday, according to Politico.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
President Joe Biden has called the chief of the National Guard Bureau to apologize after images circulated online of troops sleeping in a parking garage.
Biden also asked what could be done to help these National Guard members, the BBC reported.
Following the Capitol insurrection on January 6, roughly 25,000 troops were deployed to Washington DC to bolster Biden's inauguration security.
During breaks between shifts, these troops were previously finding locations inside the Capitol complex to sleep.
Read more: Biden's inauguration was held in a sad, military-occupied DC. Never forget how Trump got us here.
However, National Guard members were ordered to vacate congressional grounds and take their breaks elsewhere on Thursday, according to Politico.
This resulted in thousands of troops choosing to nap outdoors or in public garages, reported Intelligencer.
The decision has since been reversed. A joint statement from the US National Guard and US Capitol Police on Friday said that off-duty troops would now be housed in "appropriate spaces," according to the BBC.
Nonetheless, the viral images of National Guard members lying on the concrete floor of a parking garage drew widespread condemnation.
Both Democrats and Republicans have demanded a swift investigation.
The incident is now being investigated by the Senate Rules Committee, Sen. Roy Blunt told Politico.
The ad-hoc sleeping arrangements put troops in close contact with moving cars and exhaust fumes, soldiers told The Washington Post.
It also increased the risk of catching COVID-19. Hundreds of troops have already tested positive since the siege of the US Capitol building, according to Politico.
One garage — used by up to 5,000 troops— had only one bathroom, the media outlet reported.
It also lacked internet reception and had just one electrical outlet, Politico said.
On Friday, new First Lady Jill Biden took a detour to deliver chocolate chip cookies to National Guard members.
She said this was to thank them for keeping the Biden family safe.
Of the 25,000 National Guard troops remaining near the Capitol, almost 15,000 troops are expected to return to their respective states this week.
Up to 7,000 may be asked to remain in Washington, DC until mid-March, according to Military.com.
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