The mass riot that took place at the U.S. Capitol this week as members of Congress were meeting to certify the presidential election is prompting additional security measures for the January 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
A senior official on Biden’s inauguration committee told Newsweek security discussions are ongoing.
“We are confident in our security partners who have spent months planning and preparing for the inauguration, and we are continuing to work with them to ensure the utmost safety and security of the president-elect, vice president-elect, participants and the public during this historic event,” the official said. “We are looking forward to the inaugural ceremonies, in which the American people and the world will witness a peaceful transition of power.”
The inauguration plans already had been scaled back because of the coronavirus pandemic. Attendance to the swearing-in ceremony, which traditionally takes place on a stage built on the west steps of the Capitol, has been significantly scaled back to VIPs and members of Congress who get one guest each, instead of the thousands of tickets normally handed out to constituents. Other events, including a parade and receptions, have been postponed or moved online.
It’s not clear whether President Donald Trump, whose supporters stormed the Capitol at his urging to push for vice president to override the election results, will attend.
Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy told reporters during a briefing with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser that a 7-foot, unscalable fence will be installed around the Capitol through the inauguration and the district has been granted approval for more than 6,000 National Guardsmen to be available—more than any previous inauguration.
“We’re obviously concerned about the 20th, but we as Americans have to ask ourselves, ‘Is this going to be a new normal in America, regardless if Donald Trump is the president?” Bowser told reporters in her Thursday briefing on the chaotic previous day.
Biden didn’t directly address safety concerns about the inaugural when speaking to reporters in Delaware on Thursday, but he blamed Trump for the “riotous mob” that descended on the Capitol on Wednesday.
“For the past four years, we’ve had a president who has made his contempt for our democracy, our Constitution and the rule of law clear in everything he’s done,” Biden said. “He unleashed an all-out assault on our democracy, and yesterday was the culmination of that unrelenting attack.”
Biden said he didn’t want to address discussions that other Democratic officials have floated about Trump being removed from office in the next two weeks before his term is up.
Capitol Riot Prompts Unscalable Wall, Large Delegation of Guardsmen for Biden Inauguration The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Newsweek.