WASHINGTON - When photos of National Guard members sleeping on the floor of the U.S. Capitol surfaced on Wednesday, concerned Americans reportedly rushed to send them care packages.
Despite a report from Wednesday suggesting that they were now accepting such items, the Virginia National Guard said on Thursday morning that they "are not logistically able to accept donations of any kind."
According the National Guard officials, its members "have appropriate lodging when they are off duty" and the photos of them sleeping on the Capitol floor were taken while they rested in between shifts when they were on duty.
Officials were reiterating their plea from Wednesday, which said:
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.
In the wake of violent riots that rocked the U.S. Capitol last week, National Guard contingents from Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia poured into the District ahead of President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
Additional states have committed their own contingents since.
In the meantime, they’ve erected fortifications and barriers around a number of government buildings, including a "non-scalable fence" around the U.S. Capitol.
According to D.C. police officials, "upwards of 20,000" National Guard members are expected to arrive in the nation’s capital before inauguration day.