Washington Mayor Urges Americans to ‘Attend’ Biden Inauguration Virtually

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser is discouraging people from coming to the city for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and instead is urging them to participate virtually. The mayor is citing both coronavirus concerns as well as the attack on the U.S. Capitol building last week.Speaking to reporters at a briefing Monday, Bowser also said she sent a letter requesting that President Donald Trump declare a “pre-emergency disaster” for the District of Columbia ahead of Biden’s inauguration January 20.The mayor said this year’s inauguration poses “several unprecedented challenges that exceed the scope of our traditional planning processes,” including the pandemic and the events of last Wednesday, when Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol.Preparations take place for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 8, 2021.Additionally, Bowser said she has written to acting Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf, requesting that his agency adjust its approach to the inauguration in several specific ways.Bowser is calling for the special security period now in effect for the event to be extended from January 20 through 24. Bowser is asking the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate an effort to establish a security force deployment plan to protect all federal property. She has called on that effort to involve the departments of Defense and Justice along with U.S. Congress and Supreme Court. She said doing so will ensure that the Metropolitan Police Department can focus on its local mission in the District’s eight wards.There has been no immediate comment from Wolf’s department, but last Thursday, he issued a statement saying that what happened at the Capitol was “tragic and sickening.”Separately, Bowser is asking the Department of the Interior to cancel public gathering permits through January 24.If you missed today’s situational update, here’s a thread with some key highlights.
You can also view the full presentation by visiting the following link: https://t.co/onF4sbXmShpic.twitter.com/rADVcaR1b4
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) January 11, 2021The mayor ultimately assessed in her request over the weekend that despite the security assets the city has in place, “significant preparedness gaps remain that cannot be remedied without this emergency declaration and direct federal assistance.”Bowser said a similar pre-emergency declaration was issued in 2009 ahead of President Barack Obama’s inauguration.Bowser cited “new threats from insurgent acts of domestic terrorists” in her letter.The District of Columbia does not have jurisdiction over the Capitol and other federal property within its borders. 

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