National Guard to send up to 15K troops to DC for Biden inauguration; mayor requests pre-disaster declaration

Politics

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The National Guard has been authorized to have up to 15,000 troops in Washington D.C. to support President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration later this month, the chief of the National Guard Bureau said on Monday.

General Daniel Hokanson told reporters that there are expected to be about 10,000 troops in the city by Saturday and would be focusing on supporting security, logistics and communications. 

This announcement comes as D.C. officials brace for more, possibly violent protests surrounding the inauguration in the wake of the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.

In a public briefing Monday,  District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser asked Americans not to come to the nation’s capital on Jan. 20, when Biden will be sworn in as the nation’s 46th president. The mayor asked instead that everyone participate virtually.

“This is necessary because the inauguration poses several unprecedented challenges that exceed the scope of our traditional planning processes: the COVID-19 pandemic, and of course, the domestic terror attack on the United States Capitol,” she said.

Bowser also said Monday she has asked President Donald Trump to declare a pre-emergency declaration for D.C. to allow federal assistance.

“This is necessary because the inauguration poses several unprecedented challenges that exceed the scope of our traditional planning processes: the COVID-19 pandemic, and of course, the domestic terror attack on the United States Capitol,” she said.

In a letter requesting the pre-disaster declaration to Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Bowser cited “new threats from insurgent acts of domestic terrorists” and asked that the security period around the inauguration be extended from Monday through January 24 and that the Capitol be included in the perimeter. She also urged that any applications for demonstrations be denied during that period.

After hearing Trump repeat his unfounded claims of widespread fraud in the election, rioters broke into the Capitol on Wednesday as lawmakers were voting to certify Biden’s victory. Numerous state and federal officials, including former U.S. Attorney General William Barr, have said there was no evidence of fraud on a scale massive enough to have affected the outcome.

Five people died, including a Capitol Police officer, in the riots.

D.C. does not have jurisdiction over the Capitol and other federal property within its borders.

Bowser on Monday also called on federal agencies to provide daily intelligence and threat briefings to local law enforcement and emergency responders from now until Jan. 24, several days after the inauguration.

She also announced a new alert system for Inauguration Day, asking residents to sign up by texting INAUG2021 to 888-777. The alerts will provide updates on public safety, road closures, transit and weather.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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