Security threats after the attack on the Capitol, the heart of American democracy, large deployments of the National Guard from different states, strong restrictions on public attendance and an outgoing president who will not attend the inauguration ceremony, mark a presidential inauguration unprecedented in the United States, this Wednesday, January 20. How did you get here?
Donald Trump was not a president of traditions and his shaking to American institutions impacts until the last day of his government. And Joe Biden’s entry will not be like that of any of his predecessors.
The change of command in Washington, regardless of which political party the Executive wins, has usually been a celebration of democracy, but now the capital of the United States seems like a ghost town and heavily militarized. While takeovers in this country are typically security-heavy events, this year’s level is unprecedented.
25,000 members of the National Guard have been mobilized to central Washington before the ceremony, while the area remains fenced off with barbed wire. A stark contrast to previous swearing-ins.
“It’s like a ghost town, but with soldiers (…) It’s disturbing, it feels supernatural,” says Dana O’Connor, a resident of the city that hosts the headquarters of the political and judicial power.
For a country that has prided itself on being an example of democracy before the whole world, the attack on the Capitol on January 6, which left five people dead, today raises concerns for the security of the president-elect himself, the non-peaceful transition of power contradicts decades of his legacy.
“The world will see Biden swear in the middle of a military field that is indistinguishable from the Green Zone,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, referring to the fortress-like area in downtown Baghdad. , established after the Iraq war.
Presidential shots from previous years have drawn more than a million spectators to the National Mall to witness the event and watch the new president take a walking tour from the Capitol to the White House. Parties in hotels and convention halls throughout the city host hundreds of guests. This time they are part of the past and not only because of restrictions in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Amy Littleton, a political consultant who lives a few blocks from the White House, said it “feels really unfair” to be excluded from the presidential inauguration. “How dare these people steal our joy? We never did something like that no matter how much we disagreed, “he questioned in relation to Trump’s followers.
Members of the National Guard withdrawn for their alleged involvement in the assault on Congress
This Tuesday, just one day before Biden’s inauguration, authorities reported that two National Guard soldiers were removed from their duties related to the change of command due to investigations that point to their alleged links with extremist movements that support Trump and participated in the siege of the Legislative headquarters.
Although details about his alleged involvement have not been disclosed, Defense Secretary Chris Miller noted that the FBI is investigating the more than 25,000 soldiers deployed to help protect the Capitol to rule out new security risks.
Last week, the Virginia National Guard reported that Jacob Fracker, detained for his participation in the violent disturbances in the Capitol and who even uploaded photographs of it to his social networks, was serving as a corporal in the infantry of that military institution.
Dozens of members of the security forces are being investigated for their possible involvement in the violence.
For the first time in more than a century, the outgoing president will not attend the change of command
Donald Trump breaks a tradition of more than one hundred years, because since 1869, when Andrew Johnson refused to be in the inauguration of Ulysses Grant, it had not happened that the outgoing president did not attend the presidential inauguration of his successor.
“To all who asked me, I will not go to the inauguration on January 20,” the Republican president had advanced on his Twitter account, earlier this month before his social network was closed.
The tycoon plans to leave Washington on Wednesday morning, according to sources close to the president. Trump will fly to his Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, the state where Biden’s ceremony is likely to follow.
From there, the outgoing president plans to work with a group of those who have been his advisers in the White House to evaluate the steps to take in order to maintain his influence in the Republican Party, according to the same sources cited by Reuters.
According to a Pew Reserach Center poll, Trump leaves the Executive with the lowest approval of his four years in office, with about 29%, strongly affected by his post-election behavior.
With Reuters and local media