WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTNH) — President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be inaugurated Wednesday as Washington D.C. remains on lockdown, the Capitol building turned into a fortress.
Law enforcement insists Wednesday will be peaceful, but they’re not taking any changes.
There will be no crowds on the National Mall. People, instead, replaced by fields of American flags from the Capitol to the Washington Monument.
It is going to be a very different inauguration in the age of COVID-19, a snub by the outgoing president, and so much tension about possible trouble leading to tight security.
The Acting Attorney General reiterated that Wednesday there will be a peaceful transfer of power, warning anyone the Department of Justice won’t tolerate anyone who tries to mar the day with violence.
Biden took off to D.C. from Willington, Delaware, Tuesday afternoon. It’s the last time he’ll leave his home as president-elect.
Less than 24 hours before his inauguration, security experts’ biggest fears came coming true. A defense official confirms their vetting found two Army National Guard members – assigned to Biden’s inauguration – have ties to far-right groups. Both have been removed from inauguration security and are now under investigation.
Ten more National Guard members also taken off the line for other reasons.
Ian Hoffmann, an attorney with the DOJ said, “These are vetting efforts that identify any questionable behavior in the past or any potential link to questionable behavior, not just related to extremism.”
Before this news, a law enforcement bulletin raised concerns that right-wing extremists might try to pose as law enforcement and military to infiltrate security at the event.
D.C. is already on high alert after the Jan. 6 siege on the Capitol. Armed National Guard members 21,500 strong are now on duty in the nation’s capital. Razor wire, barricades, and checkpoints accompany them everywhere.
But in what could be his last floor speech as Majority Leader, Senator Mitch McConnell placed blame for the attack on President Donald Trump.
“The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government, which they did not like.”
He’s urged a bipartisan path forward; so had Biden, inviting congressional leadership from both sides of the aisle to join him at church before Wednesday’s swearing-in. All have accepted.
It’s part of what will be a busy first day for the incoming president. Biden’s promised executive orders on extending COVID-19 relief, rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, and he plans to send Congress an immigration reform bill that includes an eight-year pathway to citizenship.
Notably absent from Wednesday’s inauguration will be the Trumps. The president will be long gone, instead, holding his own sendoff at Joint Base Andrews Tuesday.
Neither he nor first lady Melania Trump have invited the Bidens to the White House ahead of the inauguration, a courtesy that was extended to the Trumps by the Obamas; most other outgoing presidents have done the same with their replacements.