President Donald Trump greets the crowd at the “Stop The Steal” Rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Trump Approves Emergency Declaration in Washington
“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.
Separately, the pandemonium that broke out throughout that day on Capitol grounds left at least five people dead—three due to medical reasons. One woman died after being shot inside the Capitol building and a U.S. Capitol police officer was confirmed dead by the department on Jan. 7 due to injuries sustained while on duty responding to riots.
On Monday, Bowser urged Americans not to travel to Washington for the presidential inauguration and instead take part in the Jan. 20 event virtually.
In addition, Bowser sent a letter over the weekend to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, requesting his department extend the national security event period to Jan. 24 from Jan. 11. She asked for the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate with the Pentagon, Department of Justice, Congress, and the Supreme Court to establish a plan to protect all federal property during that time.
Bowser also asked Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to direct the FBI to give an intelligence and threat briefing on a daily basis from Jan. 11 to Jan. 25 to law enforcement officials in Washington, and that Interior Secretary David Bernhardt cancel all public gathering permits and deny all applications for permits during the time period.
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.
Biden told reporters on Monday that he is “not afraid” to take the oath of office outside. “It is critically important that there’ll be a real serious focus on holding those folks who engaged in sedition and threatening the lives, defacing public property, caused great damage, that they be held accountable,” he also said.
Separately, the U.S. National Park Service said on Monday that the Washington Monument is closed and the closure will continue through Jan. 24. It said that the closures are “in response to credible threats to visitors and park resources.”
“Groups involved in the January 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol continue to threaten to disrupt the 59th presidential inauguration on January 20, 2021. This includes the set up and execution of inaugural events, which occur in several park areas,” the Park Service said in its statement.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.