The number of troops expected in D.C. for the inauguration has increased to more than 20,000. The U.S. Capitol has heightened security one week out from the inauguration. And the event will get some high-powered celebrity help.
There are seven days until Joe Biden’s inauguration.
As the U.S. Capitol fills with security personnel, the number of National Guard members authorized to be in Washington, D.C. for the inauguration has grown to more than 20,000, according to city officials.
Speaking at a news conference with Mayor Muriel Bowser today, Acting Police Chief Robert Contee said that another 5,000 members of the National Guard may be added to earlier plans to deploy about 15,000 personnel.
“I think you can expect to see somewhere upwards of beyond 20,000 members of the National Guard that will be here in footprint the District of Columbia,” he said.
Contee added that the final number would be determined by the Secret Service because the inauguration has been designated a special security event. — Keith Laing
CAPITOL HAS HEIGHTENED SECURITY ONE WEEK OUT
The U.S. Capitol resembled an armed camp as lawmakers prepared to vote on impeaching President Donald Trump, with soldiers bearing rifles standing an arm’s-length apart around the building that was attacked last week.
Roads around the Capitol complex in Washington were closed, with military units at street corners and heavy trucks blocking some streets. Many of the usual entry points to the Capitol were blocked off, funneling people to closely watched doors.
Scores of National Guard personnel had slept on the floor of the Capitol Visitor Center, which before the pandemic was usually crowded with tourists and school groups awaiting a tour.
With ongoing threats of possible attacks, the U.S. Secret Service began what it calls National Special Security Event operations for the 2021 Inauguration today, rather than the earlier scheduled date one day before the Jan. 20 inauguration. — Todd Shields
TOM HANKS TO HOST BIDEN-HARRIS TV SPECIAL
Actor Tom Hanks will headline a prime-time television event to celebrate his inauguration next Wednesday as the Biden team looks to replace the traditional balls with at-home entertainment.
Performing will be singers Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Ant Clemons and Jon Bon Jovi, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced.
The 90-minute special, called “Celebrating America,” will air on major broadcast networks and streaming services beginning at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20.
It replaces the inaugural balls that have been a fixture in Washington’s social scene since President James Madison’s inauguration in 1809.
Biden’s Presidential Inaugural Committee canceled those events because of the coronavirus pandemic, and security concerns are also a factor in downsizing inaugural events following last week’s deadly riot at the Capitol. — Gregory Korte