President Donald Trump on Monday approved an emergency declaration for the District of Columbia – intended to add extra security ahead of the transition to a Biden administration.
The President’s statement came after DC Mayor Bowser requested the declaration ahead of the inauguration.
“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 from Monday reads.
Bowser had 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.
On Monday, Bowser also urged Americans not to travel to Washington for the presidential inauguration and instead take part in the Jan. 20 event virtually.
Bowser also 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.
Wolf 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.
“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.
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.