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SC National Guard says troops were 'largely unaffected' by taking break in parking garage

National Guardsmen forced to sleep in parking lot after being told to leave Capitol (Credit: Rep. Tim Scott)

National Guard troops assigned to protect the Capitol for Pres. Joe Biden's inauguration were ordered by officials to vacate on Thursday, forcing them to take their breaks on the ground of a parking garage outside of the building.

The guardsmen were later let back into facilities after lawmakers called for answers. One of those lawmakers calling for answers was South Carolina's Sen. Tim Scott.

Sen. Scott took to twitter Thursday night, saying whoever decided to house our troops in a parking lot needs to be held accountable.

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"Our troops deserve the utmost honor & respect for securing the Capitol & defending democracy this week. This is unconscionable & unsafe. Whoever’s decision this was to house our National Guardsmen & women in underground parking lots must be held accountable," the tweet stated.

About an hour later, Scott stated that the troops had been brought back inside.

"Just heard that our troops will be moved back inside tonight. We owe our National Guard and law enforcement officials a debt of gratitude that we can never truly repay. They’ve put everything on the line to protect us. I’m glad to hear they’ll be back indoors tonight," he tweeted.

ABC15 News reached out to the South Carolina National Guard for comment, and the following statement was sent to us.

If this is in regards to the recent news about the relocation of service members following the inauguration, we have confirmed with leadership on ground that the South Carolina National Guard was largely unaffected by this.
Throughout the mission, our service members were resting in garages that were close to the sites where they were conducting their duties. These sites were designated as rest areas for National Guard members when they were not on duty, but between shifts. These sites are heated and served as a location for service members to get out of the cold and take a break during shifts.

After the response from the S.C. National Guard, ABC 15 reached back out to Sen. Scott for comment.

Gov. McMaster announced in a Tweet on Friday that all South Carolina National Guard soldiers are leaving Washington, D.C. and will be home this weekend.