A National Guard member stationed in Washington, D.C. to guard the U.S. Capitol was found dead in a Marriott hotel early Thursday morning, WUSA9 reported.
The service member, whose name has not been released, died due to an apparent medical emergency, said Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Carver, a spokesman for the joint task force that commands the Capitol security mission.
The guard was not on duty at the time of his death, which was reported around 11 p.m.
The Pentagon will keep 2,300 National Guard troops at the U.S. Capitol through May 23 following the Jan. 6 breach of the building. There are currently some 5,000 troops in Washington at the request of federal law enforcement agencies.
Republicans and Army leaders have questioned the need for heightened security – a chain-link fence topped with razor wire surrounds the Capitol – but safety measures will be in place at least until late May after Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin approved a request by the U.S. Capitol for continued National Guard support.
Top lawmakers have questioned the expense and continued deployment.
"I just checked earlier this morning. There are no serious threats against the Capitol. I think we're way overreacting to the current need," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday.
He added: "I'm extremely uncomfortable with the fact that my constituents can't come to the Capitol. With all this razor wire around the complex, it reminds me of my last visit to Kabul. This is the capital of the United States of America. Do we need some changes? We probably do. But I think we are continuing to overreact based on current threat levels, to what is needed here at the Capitol. It looks terrible to have the beacon of our democracy surrounded by razor wire and National Guard troops."
McConnell's stance has provided support for other senators who've spoken out against the troops remaining.
“It’s outrageous because that’s not their function. It’s not their mission,” Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., told reporters earlier this month. “We have the Capitol Police. That is their mission."
U.S. military officials in early February said the cost to deploy about 26,000 U.S. National Guard troops to secure the U.S. Capitol in the wake of the Jan. 6 breach is nearly $500 million.
The deployment brought troops in from all 50 states and four territories as law enforcement agencies tried to lock down the Capitol for the inauguration of the President Joe Biden. Thousands of Guard members poured into the nation’s capital and were stationed across the city to block traffic and fortify landmarks.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Solange Reyner is a writer and editor for Newsmax. She has more than 15 years in the journalism industry reporting and covering news, sports and politics.
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