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Hundreds of National Guard troops quarter in Capitol hallways

Reporters shared photographs of an extraordinary sight Wednesday morning as they arrived at the United States Capitol ahead of the House impeachment vote. The shots show hundreds of armed National Guard troops getting some rest in the hallways of the building.

The jolting images provide a dose of reality about how tense the situation in Washington is at the moment, a week after the deadly Capitol riot, especially when coupled with harrowing revelations from lawmakers about the incident.

I spotted the National Guard sleeping in the hallways of the Capitol as I walked in this morning. pic.twitter.com/PzVpQCo5yU

— Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) January 13, 2021

Just walked into the Capitol to find literally hundreds of troops napping and lining up in the Congressional Visitor Center— as streets around here are largely blocked.

Many are cuddling their firearms, fatigues over their heads to block light, and riot gear in neat piles. pic.twitter.com/vCHAOGMdfA

— Nathaniel Reed (@ReedReports) January 13, 2021

A model of the statue of Freedom overlooks scores of U.S. troops deployed to the Capitol to protect Congress as the House prepares to impeach President Trump a 2nd time, on Jan. 13, 2021. pic.twitter.com/gwfdE3qeXB

— Lindsay Wise (@lindsaywise) January 13, 2021

As images of hundreds of National Guard troops sleeping on the hard floors of the U.S. Capitol pinballed around the internet Wednesday, Guard leaders faced an unusual problem: a rush of Americans who wanted to donate money and “comfort items” to these service members.

In a message released Wednesday evening, the Guard issued a simple request: please don’t.

“In response to photos on social media and in the press today showing National Guardsmen resting in between shifts at the Capitol, many well-meaning and thoughtful citizens are organizing collection of comfort items for National Guard men and women who are in the District of Columbia in support of the upcoming presidential inauguration,” the statement said. “While we appreciate the many offers and people who care about our soldiers and airmen, we are not logistically able to accept donations of any kind.”

Reporters shared photographs of an extraordinary sight Wednesday morning as they arrived at the United States Capitol ahead of the House impeachment vote. The shots show hundreds of armed National Guard troops getting some rest in the hallways of the building.

The jolting images provide a dose of reality about how tense the situation in Washington is at the moment, a week after the deadly Capitol riot, especially when coupled with harrowing revelations from lawmakers about the incident.

I spotted the National Guard sleeping in the hallways of the Capitol as I walked in this morning. pic.twitter.com/PzVpQCo5yU

— Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) January 13, 2021

Just walked into the Capitol to find literally hundreds of troops napping and lining up in the Congressional Visitor Center— as streets around here are largely blocked.

Many are cuddling their firearms, fatigues over their heads to block light, and riot gear in neat piles. pic.twitter.com/vCHAOGMdfA

— Nathaniel Reed (@ReedReports) January 13, 2021

A model of the statue of Freedom overlooks scores of U.S. troops deployed to the Capitol to protect Congress as the House prepares to impeach President Trump a 2nd time, on Jan. 13, 2021. pic.twitter.com/gwfdE3qeXB

— Lindsay Wise (@lindsaywise) January 13, 2021

As images of hundreds of National Guard troops sleeping on the hard floors of the U.S. Capitol pinballed around the internet Wednesday, Guard leaders faced an unusual problem: a rush of Americans who wanted to donate money and “comfort items” to these service members.

In a message released Wednesday evening, the Guard issued a simple request: please don’t.

“In response to photos on social media and in the press today showing National Guardsmen resting in between shifts at the Capitol, many well-meaning and thoughtful citizens are organizing collection of comfort items for National Guard men and women who are in the District of Columbia in support of the upcoming presidential inauguration,” the statement said. “While we appreciate the many offers and people who care about our soldiers and airmen, we are not logistically able to accept donations of any kind.”

Reporters shared photographs of an extraordinary sight Wednesday morning as they arrived at the United States Capitol ahead of the House impeachment vote. The shots show hundreds of armed National Guard troops getting some rest in the hallways of the building.

The jolting images provide a dose of reality about how tense the situation in Washington is at the moment, a week after the deadly Capitol riot, especially when coupled with harrowing revelations from lawmakers about the incident.

I spotted the National Guard sleeping in the hallways of the Capitol as I walked in this morning. pic.twitter.com/PzVpQCo5yU

— Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) January 13, 2021

Just walked into the Capitol to find literally hundreds of troops napping and lining up in the Congressional Visitor Center— as streets around here are largely blocked.

Many are cuddling their firearms, fatigues over their heads to block light, and riot gear in neat piles. pic.twitter.com/vCHAOGMdfA

— Nathaniel Reed (@ReedReports) January 13, 2021

A model of the statue of Freedom overlooks scores of U.S. troops deployed to the Capitol to protect Congress as the House prepares to impeach President Trump a 2nd time, on Jan. 13, 2021. pic.twitter.com/gwfdE3qeXB

— Lindsay Wise (@lindsaywise) January 13, 2021

As images of hundreds of National Guard troops sleeping on the hard floors of the U.S. Capitol pinballed around the internet Wednesday, Guard leaders faced an unusual problem: a rush of Americans who wanted to donate money and “comfort items” to these service members.

In a message released Wednesday evening, the Guard issued a simple request: please don’t.

“In response to photos on social media and in the press today showing National Guardsmen resting in between shifts at the Capitol, many well-meaning and thoughtful citizens are organizing collection of comfort items for National Guard men and women who are in the District of Columbia in support of the upcoming presidential inauguration,” the statement said. “While we appreciate the many offers and people who care about our soldiers and airmen, we are not logistically able to accept donations of any kind.”

Many viewed the images of sleeping troops and mistakenly thought that the more than 15,000 Guard members in D.C. were being housed inside the U.S. Capitol. But as Military.com reported earlier, that’s not the case. Instead, the troops have secured rooms in local hotels as authorized under their Title 32 state mobilization orders.

The Guard members sleeping in the Capitol were on authorized breaks during their 12-hour duty shifts, an official told Military.com.

While not on duty, Guard troops are lodging in local hotels under a Title 32 mobilization, which puts Guard members under state control while receiving pay and benefits from the federal government.

“In addition, please know our National Guardsmen have appropriate lodging for when they are off-duty; the photos circulating are of them on-duty, in a designated rest area between shifts,” the Guard statement said. “Being present is the first step in ensuring the safety of our citizens and our Nation’s Capitol. Our security personnel work in shifts and rest when they can as others stand watch.”

The Guard presence around the Capitol will remain in place through the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden. In the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol siege by pro-Trump protesters, troops from Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania have flooded into Washington, D.C., joining the fully activated D.C. National Guard.

Others are also taking steps to minimize the possibility of violent demonstrations. Lodging platform Airbnb announced it was canceling all D.C. reservations around the inauguration, and other hotel vendors are following suit.

Guard members deployed to the district for Capitol security have been authorized to carry lethal weapons, the D.C. National Guard acknowledged Tuesday.

It’s been one week since a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, and security looks very different now than it did on that deadly day.

Hundreds of armed National Guard members were inside the halls of Congress amid reports of expected violence leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

As lawmakers debated and voted on an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump, battle-ready National Guard troops were camped out amongst the artwork in the Capitol Rotunda, as well as in the Capitol Visitor Center. Many spent the night huddled together sleeping on the marble floors of the building.

One guardsman politely declined the suggestion of a cot, telling HuffPost he was afraid it would “destroy the floors of one of the coolest buildings in the world.”

Others were as astonished to find themselves on duty inside the Capitol as the staffers and lawmakers who work there every day.

“If I walked into my place of work tomorrow and I saw this, I’d be stunned myself,” one guardsman told HuffPost.

Troops milled about the Capitol Rotunda as lawmakers did their work in the House chamber, gaping at its ornate decorations and famed ceiling fresco. Many had never stepped foot into the building before.

“We’re tourists, too. This is kind of cool,” said a third guardsman, who is stationed in Virginia.

Another soldier the scene was “one for the history books.”

“We haven’t seen this in over 160 years, since the Civil War,” he added, noting the last time military troops were quartered at the Capitol, under the direction of President Abraham Lincoln.

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