- The Washington Times
Friday, January 22, 2021

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday he ordered more than 600 Florida National Guard soldiers to return home from Washington, quipping that they’re meant to serve the American people not act as “Nancy Pelosi’s servants.”

“Last night, I ordered our Adjutant General to bring Florida National Guard soldiers home from the National Capital Region,” the Republican governor tweeted Friday morning.

The move followed a backlash over reports that Guardsmen had been evicted from U.S. Capitol buildings to nearby parking garages where they were forced to sleep on the ground Thursday. The soldiers, who had been protecting the area since the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, were allowed back inside later that night.

Mr. DeSantis said in an appearance on “Fox & Friends” Friday morning that the soldiers haven’t been treated properly since the riot, after the FBI announced it was vetting Guardsmen for any potential inside threats. During the vetting, multiple National Guard members were removed from duties related to the inauguration of President Biden due to “questionable behavior.”

“These folks are soldiers,” Mr. DeSantis said Friday. “They’ve served our country all around the world, 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 frontlines of the COVID fight.

“They’re soldiers,” he continued. “They’re not Nancy Pelosi’s servants. And this comes on the back end of them trying to investigate the backgrounds of our Guardsmen. In Florida, we did not let them go into their political beliefs. I thought that was totally inappropriate. I thought it was disrespectful for people who are clearly patriots. So, this is a half-cocked mission at this point and I think it’s appropriate to bring them home.”

A National Guard official told 10 Tampa Bay the returning troops will arrive in Florida late Saturday or Sunday night.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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