WASHINGTON D.C. – The mayor of Washington D.C. is refuting claims that she kicked 200 members of the Utah National Guard out of their hotel. However, Utah Senator Mike Lee believes it was still a petty move on her part.
Mayor Muriel Bowser has made it clear, she wants guard members from other parts of the country out of her city. She sent a letter to President Trump saying her police department hasn’t made any arrests during the past few days and the protests have been peaceful. Her letter reads, “Therefore, I am requesting that you withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence from Washington D.C.”
Despite this, she says she never instructed the management of the Marriott Marquis to force Utah’s National Guard members out of the hotel. During a press conference Friday afternoon, she said she doesn’t have the authority to make that kind of request.
Instead, she says the problem was caused by conflicting contracts with the hotel. Bowser says the city had already entered into a deal with Marriott and had reserved those rooms for their COVID-19 response.
Bowser says, “Our message to the hotel was that if [the Army National Guard] is going to use the rooms we reserved, then they have to pay for them and you have to refund us our money.”
She says the city has worked with the Army National Guard many times in the past, and those arrangements were always made in a cooperative way. However, she says this instance is different.
By Friday morning, Utah’s Guard members found another place to sleep.
“It is certainly not our intent that these soldiers not have a place to stay,” she says.
Utah Senator Mike Lee issued a statement Friday morning calling out Mayor Bowser for how the eviction happened. He says the group of Utahns was told late at night they’d have to find another hotel after they’d worked a long overnight shift. While speaking with KSL Newsradio’s Lee Lonsberry, he questioned whether Bowser couldn’t have found a better time and manner to fix the problem.
“There is no reason why she couldn’t have found a way to cover this until the Army, or whoever else could step in, and take hold of the contract,” Lee says.
Lee says if Bowser has a personal issue with President Trump, she shouldn’t “take it out” on the National Guard.
He says, “I just think this was a slap in the face, and it was certainly poor form.”
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