Trump Approves Emergency Declaration For Washington For Biden Inauguration

Written by Martin Walsh

This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion

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President Donald Trump on Monday approved an emergency declaration for Washington that lasts through Jan. 24, the White House said, after authorities warned of security threats to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.

“Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that an emergency exists in the District of Columbia and ordered Federal assistance to supplement the District’s response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from the 59th Presidential Inauguration from January 11 to January 24, 2021,” a White House statement on Jan. 11 reads.

Bowser had earlier requested the emergency declaration in a letter to Trump, which reads, in part, “In light of the attack on the Capitol and intelligence suggesting further violence is likely during the Inaugural period, my administration has re-evaluated our preparedness posture for the Inauguration, including requesting the extension of DC National Guard support through January 24, 2021.

“I have determined that the plans and resources previously assigned to the Inauguration are insufficient to establish a safe and secure environment as a direct result of the insurrectionist actions that occurred on January 6. Based on recent events and intelligence assessments, we must prepare for large groups of trained and armed extremists to come to Washington, DC,” the letter said.

The Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol building by unknown groups interrupted lawmakers who were gathered to count and certify the electoral votes for the now-President-elect Joe Biden. It is unclear who instigated the breach of the building.

On Monday, Bowser urged Americans not to travel to Washington for the presidential inauguration and instead take part in the Jan. 20 event virtually.

Pete Gaynor, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has named Thomas Fargione as the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area, according to the White House.

Up to 15,000 National Guard troops will be authorized to be deployed in the city ahead of Jan. 20, “to meet current and future inauguration support requirements,” Gen. Daniel Hokanson said in a statement on Monday. “To date, our troops have been requested to support security, logistics, liaison, and communication missions.”

“Right now, we have approximately 6,200 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from 6 states and the District of Columbia on the ground in the NCR [National Capital Region] supporting civilian authorities,” he said. He added that he has received requests from the Secret Service, Capitol Police, and Park Police for guardsmen to be deployed in the city.

Wolf, whose resignation is effective by the end of Monday, said in a statement on Monday that the DHS will begin National Special Security Event operations for the Jan. 20 inauguration effective on Jan. 13 instead of Jan. 19.

The change in date is due to “events of the past week and the evolving security landscape leading up to the inauguration,” referring to the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, when groups illegally entered the building and interrupted the joint session of Congress that was being held to count and certify electoral votes.