Tens of thousands of National Guard troops were sent to Washington in the wake of an attack on the U.S. Capitol to provide additional security ahead of, during, and after President Joe Biden’s inauguration. Now, one state’s governor is issuing a harsh warning to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other leaders in Congress: Treat the Guardsmen right, because they may not always be at your beck and call.
The remarks came Friday from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who said during an episode of Fox & Friends that National Guard troops are “not Nancy Pelosi’s servants,” as the Washington Examiner reported.
“They’ve served our country all around the world,” DeSantis said of the Guardsmen. “They’ve served our state of Florida after natural disasters.
“They’re serving right now helping with vaccinating senior citizens, and they’ve been on the front lines of the COVID fight,” the governor added. “They’re soldiers. They’re not Nancy Pelosi’s servants.”
“They had no further use for us”
Helping to fuel the governor’s frustration was a Thursday report from Politico revealing that National Guard troops had been forced to sleep and take their breaks in unheated parking garages with limited bathrooms following Inauguration Day. One Guardsman told Politico that troops were “banished” after lawmakers had “no further use” for them.
“Yesterday dozens of senators and congressmen walked down our lines taking photos, shaking our hands and thanking us for our service,” the Guardsman reportedly said. “Within 24 hours, they had no further use for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage. We feel incredibly betrayed.”
DeSantis also complained about federal officials’ decision to investigate the political backgrounds of men and women who were deployed to the nation’s capital. At least a dozen Guardsmen were arrested for what the Associated Press described as “ties with right-wing militia groups” or for posting “extremist views” on social media.
“A half-cocked mission”
“Florida, we did not let them go into their political beliefs,” DeSantis insisted Friday, slamming the effort to vet Guardsmen as “totally inappropriate,” according to the Washington Examiner.
“I thought it was very disrespectful for people who are clearly patriots,” DeSantis added. “So, this is a half-cocked mission at this point, and I think the appropriate thing is to bring them home.”
And that’s exactly what he did.
Take a look at DeSantis’ comments to Fox, courtesy of the Examiner:
.@GovRonDeSantis calls Florida National Guard troops home from D.C.
“They’re soldiers. They’re not Nancy Pelosi servants.” pic.twitter.com/K1v16VzOX4
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) January 22, 2021