UPDATE: Whitmer, others meet with Michigan National Guard in Washington
The visit Friday comes as the governor says she won’t extend the deployment beyond next week.
WASHINGTON (WLUC) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to meet Friday with the Michigan National Guard soldiers who have been served non-edible food in Washington D.C.
The governor’s visit comes after reports of non-edible food being served to the troops protecting the U.S. Capitol for six weeks. The Michigan National Guard deployment will run one more week.
The U.S. Capitol Police wants to keep the National Guard for another two months, but Whitmer’s office says she does not plan to extend the Michigan deployment.
“The Michigan National Guard has been called upon in an unprecedented manner over the past year as we responded to COVID-19, natural disasters, and civil unrest,” Bobby Leddy said, a spokesperson for Whitmer. “These brave men and women were some of the first troops on the ground to answer the call to protect our nation’s Capitol Building from security threats. The Michigan National Guard deployment will run until approximately March 12, and there is no intention of extending this deployment. The members of the guard are professionals who excel at the work they perform, and Governor Whitmer is incredibly proud of them and eager for their return home.”
Friday, while in the Capitol, the governor met with servicemembers during their lunch break to thank them for their service and acknowledge their tremendous sacrifices. Gov. Whitmer was joined by U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, and Congresswomen Debbie Dingell and Elissa Slotkin.
“The brave men and women of the Michigan National Guard are professionals who excel at the work they perform, and this time is no different as they answered the call to protect our nation’s Capitol Building,” said Governor Whitmer. “The Michigan National Guard has been called upon in an unprecedented manner over the past year as we responded to COVID-19, natural disasters, and civil unrest. Today’s visit was about showing appreciation for all of their sacrifices over the past couple of months, and an opportunity to recognize some outstanding servicemembers. I am incredibly proud of them and eager for their return home.”
Michigan contributed 1,000 National Guard service members to assist with the ongoing Capitol security efforts with the expectation that their needs would be met. This deployment will run until approximately March 12, 2021, and Gov. Whitmer has no plans of agreeing to an extension of this deployment.
U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) Friday released the following statement after joining Gov. Whitmer in meeting and eating lunch with the Michigan National Guard troops who have been deployed to Washington, D.C.:
“It was an honor to again thank the Michigan National Guard for their service in protecting the Capitol: the very symbol of our democracy. During my interactions with our Michigan Guardsmen throughout their deployment, they demonstrated their commitment and their call to service in stepping up for this mission. Their presence at the Capitol guaranteed that the work of the American people could continue uninterrupted.
“I remain outraged that our Guardsmen were being fed food that was undercooked, unsanitary and inadequate and – in some cases – even making them sick and in need of medical attention. Our Guardsmen deserve better. I have shared my concerns with National Guard leadership and Major General William Walker, Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard. I will continue pressing to ensure our Guardsmen have access to safe and adequate food — they have earned nothing less.
“I can’t thank our Michigan National Guardsmen enough for all they’ve done – not just during this deployment, but throughout the pandemic in distributing life-saving personal protective equipment, supporting vaccine distribution efforts and assisting in response during the catastrophic dam collapse in Midland County. Our state is forever indebted to them.”
For more photos from Sen. Peters’ office, click here.
Copyright 2021 WLUC. All rights reserved.