Washington (AP) – The US is heading for the change of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden as future president with massive security measures. Before Wednesday’s inauguration, the US capital Washington is not only concerned about further violence from angry Trump supporters.
A spokesman for the United States military said on request on Monday that the military was working with the federal police FBI to assess all soldiers deployed as part of the inauguration. The background to this is the possibility of an attack on the inauguration from within. The police are supported by up to 25,000 members of the National Guard.
Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday and Kamala Harris will become the country’s first female vice president. The setting for the ceremony is the west side of the Capitol. Violent supporters of President-elect Trump stormed the parliament building on January 6. The center of the capital with its many monuments not far from the conference building and the White House has been transformed into a high security zone in recent days. Metal gates and police checkpoints were placed and several metro stations were closed. Bridges from neighboring Virginia state to Washington would be closed from Tuesday.
Monday, the Capitol was temporarily closed. The Secret Service said it was caused by a small fire that broke out a few blocks away. It has been removed. There is no danger to the public.
“This inauguration is different,” Senator Amy Klobuchar told CNN news channel. She is a member of the Congress Committee that organizes the inauguration. On the one hand, there will be fewer problems related to the masses, because the corona pandemic means far fewer people will be able to attend the inauguration than in previous years. On the other hand, there are security concerns from the storming of the Capitol, which is why there is a strong military presence, Klobuchar said.
Biden spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield told ABC News on Sunday that despite the tense security situation, the future US president’s team would hold on to swearing-in in front of the parliament building. “Our plan and expectation is that President-elect Biden and his family will lay hands on the Bible outside on the west side of the Capitol.” This will send an “incredibly important” picture of the resilience of American democracy to the world. You are in an “unpredictable time”. “But we have complete confidence in the United States Secret Service and its partners.”
During the inauguration – which takes place even in normal years under severe security measures – the secret service responsible for protecting the president is in charge of the precautions. When asked, a spokesman said that for security reasons, the Secret Service and its partners could not provide information about the means and methods that would be used to protect the event.
The German Journalists’ Association (DJV) warned Washington correspondents of the danger of attacks and violence. “All reporters are called upon to be particularly careful and attentive on Wednesday,” Federal President Frank Überall said in Berlin on Monday. “Extremist Trump fans have already shown their hatred and willingness to use violence against journalists in the Capitol.”
Trump has already announced that he will stay away from the inauguration. According to US media reports, he plans to leave Washington the morning before his successor is sworn in. During his four-year tenure, Trump has repeatedly shown that he does not adhere to political customs. Trump initially remained in the background in the final hours of his tenure. According to reports in the American media, he was able to pardon dozens of people on Tuesday. For weeks, it has been speculated that Trump could become the first president in US history to pardon himself. At the moment it does not look like it, the channel reported CNN.
The change of government in Washington is also accompanied by the corona pandemic. One year after the first reported corona case in the United States, the number of deaths attributed to the virus in the United States is nearly 400,000. Nearly 24 million infections have been recorded – more in absolute terms than in any other country in the world. Experts assume a large number of unreported cases.
A memorial ceremony for the pandemic victims is scheduled the night before the inauguration. Biden and Harris are expected with their husbands at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. At the reflection pool there, 400 lamps will be lit. It was Biden’s first performance after arriving in Washington for his inauguration, his team said.
The pandemic will not only prevent a mass audience at the inauguration, but also the traditional balls in the evening. Instead, the Biden team has announced a show to be shown on TV and online Wednesday night (local time). It will be moderated by actor Tom Hanks and stars such as Justin Timberlake and Jon Bon Jovi will appear. Let Biden and Harris talk.