National Guard Kicked Out of DC Hotel Because Rooms Were Reserved for Guardsmen Helping With COVID Only

Members of the Utah National Guard deployed to Washington D.C. during protests over the death of George Floyd were asked to relocate from a block of hotel rooms Thursday night. Those rooms had been previously reserved for National Guard members assisting the city with coronavirus relief efforts.

Initially, Bowser became the target for criticism regarding the decision. Republican Utah Senator Mike Lee called Bowser's decision to remove the units from the hotel a "shameful, petty, discrediting decision" on Thursday.

Bowser clarified her stance on the situation during a Friday news conference. "At no time did we intend or certainly would be able to affect evicting any guardsmen from any hotel," Bowser said.

Since the rooms the National Guard troops were staying in had been reserved by contract with the Marriott Marquis hotel to be used exclusively for soldiers helping the city with its coronavirus efforts, Bowser said either the National Guard units would have to pay for the rooms or refund the money.

"So those out-of-state troops would be covered either by the Army or their home states, not by D.C. residents," Bowser continued.

According to a statement from the Utah National Guard, the issue was resolved. "The soldiers will be relocated to the new hotel today," the Utah National Guard said Friday.

Newsweek reached out to Mayor Bowser's office and the Utah National Guard for further comment. This story will be updated with any response.

muriel bowser
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser moved protest patrolling National Guard troops out of a block of hotel rooms designated for other Guard units assisting with the district's coronavirus relief efforts on Thursday. Earl Gibson III/Getty

The dispute over room payment highlighted the quarrel between Bowser and Republican lawmakers over the presence of troops within the District. As mayor, Bowser has no input on the mobilization of troops because Washington, D.C. is classified as federal territory.

National Guard troops were deployed to the troops from several states on Monday at the behest of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Their presence in D.C. was requested to help local law enforcement officials handle violent activity from demonstrators, some of whom had engaged in protests near the White House. Mayor Bowser has expressed her desire to see the troops withdrawn.

Bowser requested that Trump "withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence" from Washington, D.C. in a Friday letter.

"The deployment of federal law enforcement personnel and equipment are inflaming demonstrators and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and for reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing Black Americans," the letter continued.

President Donald Trump criticized Bowser for her response to the demonstrations, calling her "grossly incompetent" in a Friday tweet.

".@MayorBowser is grossly incompetent, and in no way qualified to be running an important city like Washington, D.C. If the great men and women of the National Guard didn't step forward, she would have looked no better than her counterpart Mayor in Minneapolis."

.@MayorBowser is grossly incompetent, and in no way qualified to be running an important city like Washington, D.C. If the great men and women of the National Guard didn’t step forward, she would have looked no better than her counterpart Mayor in Minneapolis!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2020

Demonstrations have been occurring in the U.S. for over a week as protesters decry George Floyd's death at the hands of white police officers in Minneapolis in May. Some participants in the D.C. protests called for Trump's removal from office.