DC mayor seeks increased security for Biden inauguration

Muriel Bowser asks for broad coordination and a ‘pre-disaster declaration’ following deadly storming of US Capitol

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks during a news conference in Washington, December 17, 2020. (Shawn Thew/Pool via AP,  File)
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks during a news conference in Washington, December 17, 2020. (Shawn Thew/Pool via AP, File)

WASHINGTON — District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser is seeking increased security around US President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration in the wake of the mob insurrection at the Capitol.

“We believe strongly that the 59th Presidential Inauguration on January 20 will require a very different approach than previous inaugurations given the chaos, injury, and death experienced at the United States Capitol during the insurrection,” Bowser wrote in a letter to Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security.

She asked for a “pre-disaster declaration” for the District to allow for federal assistance.

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 is urging that any applications for demonstrations be denied during that period.

The letter was dated Saturday and released Sunday.

A woman walks past security fencing protecting the West Front of the US Capitol in Washington, January 8, 2021, as preparations take place for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration after Trump supporters stormed the building. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

After hearing US President Donald Trump repeat his baseless claims that the election was stolen from him, rioters broke into the Capitol on Wednesday as lawmakers were voting to certify Biden’s victory. Five died, including a Capitol Police officer. Trump has not taken responsibility for his actions, and the House is considering possible impeachment.

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

In her letter to Wolf, Bowser asked for coordination with the Defense and Justice departments, Congress and the Supreme Court to develop a security plan for all federal properties. “Consistent with established protocols and practices, it is the primary responsibility of the federal government to secure federal property in these situations,” she wrote.

Doing so, she said will enable the Metropolitan Police Department “to focus on its local mission.”

Armed police officers follow a Senate procession carrying boxes holding Electoral College votes to the House Chamber for a joint session to confirm the Electoral College votes, January 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

During Wednesday’s rioting, insurrectionists carrying Trump’s false message about the election pushed past Capitol Police to gain access to the Capitol. Members of Congress have called for an investigation, and the chief of the Capitol Police and the Sergeants at Arms of the House and the Senate have been ousted.

There was no widespread fraud in the election, a fact that has been confirmed by state officials across the country, as well as by Attorney General William Barr. Nearly all of the legal challenges put forth by Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges. The Supreme Court, which includes three Trump-nominated justices, has also denied requests to hear a pair of cases aimed at invalidating the outcome of the election in key battleground states.

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