WASHINGTON — QUESTION:
Did Mayor Muriel Bowser kick Utah National Guard members out of 'all D.C. hotels?'
No, according to Bowser's office, this was a billing matter. The guardsmen are welcome to stay at D.C. hotels, but Bowser says "D.C. residents cannot pay their hotel bills."
Mayor Muriel Bowser
A spokesperson for Mayor Bowser's office
Wayne Hall- National Guard Bureau spokesman
Utah National Guard Press Release
Thousands of National Guard members have been deployed to Washington, D.C. amid continued protests.
Early Friday morning, Utah Senator Mike Lee tweeted that the Mayor of the District of Columbia was evicted Utah National Guardsmen from hotels.
"If Mayor Bowser has a problem with President Trump she should take it up with him, not take it out on National Guard personnel in the middle of a dangerous deployment in her city," Lee wrote thirteen hours later.
President Trump weighed in, too.
Bowser responded to Lee on Twitter saying, "D.C. residents cannot pay their hotel bills."
Sticking to just the facts, the Verify team tried to find out what happened: did Mayor Bowser actually evict out-of-state National Guards members from D.C. hotels?
About 5,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen from 11 states are supporting D.C. National Guard in response to the 'civil unrest,' according to National Guard Bureau a press statement.
Guardsmen arrived from Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.
On Friday, the Utah National Guard released a statement regarding the relocation of soldiers from a hotel.
"The Utah National Guard activated approximately 200 service members June 1, 2020, in response to a request for support from our national command authority...Last night, we were informed that our service members would be relocated from their hotel rooms. At this time, their housing situation has not been resolved. The District of Columbia’s National Guard is working diligently to resolve the matter...."
Our Verify researchers dug deeper to find out why they were relocated.
At a press conference on Friday afternoon, Mayor Bowser explained it comes down to who pays. They can't kick out the guardsmen, but she says, they're not going to foot the bill either.
A spokesperson for the Mayor told the Verify team that the city has a contract with the Marriott Marquis hotel to house D.C. National Guard members activated in the Covid-19 response.
The contract is not meant for guardsmen deployed to D.C. because of the protests.
"It is certainly not our intent that these soldiers not have a place to stay," Bowser said Friday afternoon. "It is our intent however that whoever ordered them here is responsible for it, the army their governors, that they take care of their accommodations."
The National Guard Bureau confirmed that the city had a previous agreement with this hotel.
"Some National Guard responders were quartering in hotel accommodations which had preexisting contractual agreements with the District," Wayne Hall, a National Guard Bureau spokesperson, confirmed. "Out of respect for existing agreements those facilities have with the city government, those service members have relocated. For further information, please contact city government."
So we can verify, accusations that the city evicted members of the guard from all D.C. hotels are false, but they did stop paying the bill for one hotel, which caused some National Guard members to relocate.