Trump Approves Emergency Declaration for Biden Inauguration

After much resistance by President Donald Trump, the Trump administration and allies, the US President has approved an emergency in Washington D.C. for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The emergency declaration was requested by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for concerns of another attack during Biden’s inauguration. On January 6, during the certification of President-elect at the Capitol, a violent mob - assumed to be pro-Trump - stormed the Capitol building to obstruct the process. The riot resulted in the death of five people, leaving many injured. Since the attack, more than 100 people have been arrested in connection with the riot, according to The New York Times. Trump has also been faced with threats of impeachment for inciting the attack if he refuses to resign. The outgoing president has not only indicated that he would not resign, but his Vice President Mike Pence has also indicated he will not invoke the 25th Amendment against Trump.

Trump’s approval of an emergency declaration authorizes the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide additional security assistance for emergency actions. Former U.S. Presidents, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush will also be present at the inauguration.

“Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, limited to direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 100 percent Federal funding,” the White House said in a statement.

The Department of Homeland Security has ordered the US Secret Service to officially begin its “National Special Security Event” operations, ahead of the inauguration on January 13, three days up from the initial January 16 schedule.

Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, who resigned on Monday said he ordered the operations to be moved “in light of the events of the past weeks and the evolving national security landscape leading up to the inauguration” under the command of Secret Service director James Murray.

The declaration which began on January 11 will last through January 24.

The Biden inauguration is expected to have fewer guests due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It will include virtual key speakers. The FBI has also warned that there are ongoing threats of planned protests across the 50 states at each Capitol. There may also be instances of some protesters carrying weapons openly.

Mayor Bowser at a Monday press conference urged Americans to avoid entering DC for the inauguration. Instead encouraged Americans to participate virtually.

“If I’m scared of anything, it’s for our democracy, because we have very extreme factions in our country that are armed and dangerous,” said Bowser. “Our goals right now are to encourage Americans to participate virtually and to protect the District of Columbia from a repeat of the violent insurrection experienced at the Capitol and its grounds.”

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