Four years after Donald Trump drew a Mad Max country in his presidential campaign, Washington DC is the apocalyptic city he anticipated. No one has ever seen so many security measures, inside or outside the United States. The country’s capital today has more US troops than Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria combined. The main threat is no longer Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State, but domestic terrorism. That is Trump’s heritage.
“We are left with a bittersweet taste,” laments Krittika Lalwaney, a 33-year-old bank employee who, like all residents of the capital, lives these days locked in her home. “After four years of passive resistance, now that we could be celebrating that we will no longer have Trump, we have to live in fear because he leaves us haunted by the threat of all those crazy people he has served as a platform.”
When he gets on ‘Air Force One’, the last thing Trump will see is a deserted and militarized city, with flags of all the states that try to symbolize the lost unity and lights of tribute to the 400,000 dead that his mismanagement of the pandemic. His last days in power have been so insane that not even his own vice president is going to fire him. Trump had planned to take one last mass bath at the Andrews base with all the honors and military salutes, for which he asked each guest to bring five companions. But Mike Pence finally understood the danger of his rhetoric when he heard the mobs just feet from the Senate room where he was hiding with his family during the assault on the Capitol.
members of the National Guard, along with other security forces, are battling the capital.
- Besieged population.
The streets are a labyrinth of barricades and protection fences to hinder mobility
- Inhospitable city.
Trains and subways have cut services, reservations have been canceled, restaurants are closed
“Let’s hang Mike Pence!” The Trump host shouted. Shortly before, their leader had told them from the podium that the vice president would have to support them in the vote in which the election results of November 3 were certified. “And if not, it will be a very sad day for the country,” he added cryptically. The dough knew what that meant. Plans to assassinate him quickly spread through social media and ‘Hanging up Mike Pence’ was still trending on Twitter several days later. Since then, the White House deputy has collaborated with Joe Biden’s transition team, who referred to him as “a decent man” in March of last year. If you return to the Capitol today to indicate with your presence the peaceful transition of power, you will have put yourself forever in the bullseye of Trump’s hosts, but also on the right side of history.
Purge the ranks
Like Mitch McConnell, the Senate leader who has supported the president for the past four years. His wife, Elaine Chao, resigned as Trump’s Secretary of Labor the day after the assault on the Capitol, which McConnell yesterday blamed the president for having “fed lies to the mob” about alleged electoral fraud. Lies to which he also gave wings when speaking in his day of “legal and illegal votes.” He sought to maintain his collaboration in the Georgia electoral campaign, with which he hoped to save his position as head of the Republican majority in the Upper House, but history is full of losers abandoned by his men in the final hour.
McConnell will not be at the airport today to see him off, but at the Capitol, ready to save the political system he has always lived with. As Krittika Lalwaney will not be in the streets celebrating the arrival of a woman to the vice-presidency, despite being, like her, a woman of color originally from India. Four years ago she participated in the million women march that turned the streets of Washington into a great party of pink hats that marked the beginning of a peaceful resistance, but today the US capital is a besieged city where police and military roam of all country.
They have had to be purged to ensure the safety of the new president. A dozen members of the National Guard have been relieved of their duties when links have been discovered with the far-right militias that conspire to prevent the succession. Arnie Martinez, a Chicago drug cop who watches the train station in Washington, explains those chilling sympathies for Trump’s cause, which he himself shares. “When the Black Lives Matter protests, no state wanted to call the National Guard while they burned the buildings, and here, see how everything is. At the first change, they have turned the city into a state of war. Do you think that is equivalent?
THE CEREMONY, HOUR BY HOUR:
- 14.OO, Spanish time.
Donald Trump’s farewell ceremony begins at Andrews Air Force Base with military salutes. The capacity will be limited by the pandemic and each guest can only take five people.
The broadcast of a special program for children begins, in which Jill Biden will participate and where the presidential mascots will be presented.
Joe Biden’s arrival at the Capitol.
The words of the Jesuit and theologian Leo O’Donovan officially begin the investiture. Guests recite the patriotic pledge of allegiance and Lady Gaga sings the national anthem. Amanda Gorman, youth poetry award winner, recites a poem and gives way to performances by Jennifer Lopez and country singer Garth Brooks.
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts swears in Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States, while Justice Sonia Sotomayor swears in Kamala Harris as Vice President. The Rev. Silvester Beaman blesses the mandate and Biden and Harris review the Armed Forces, demonstrating the government’s peaceful transition.
Former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama join the new leaders in laying a wreath of flowers on the grave of the unknown soldier in Arlington Cemetery.
Army representatives escort Biden and his wife to the White House. Then the ‘Parade through America’ begins, which will be held virtually and will feature the participation of all 50 States, to pay tribute to national heroes and highlight the diversity of the country.
A special ninety-minute gala by Eva Longoria and Tom Hanks begins, replacing the traditional fastos. The program will be broadcast on the main television networks and internet platforms and will feature artists such as Foo Fighters, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake, John Legend and Demi Lovato.
No US Capitol was stormed by the racial demonstrations, although the same militias that follow Trump’s orders took the one in Michigan last May to protest the lockdown. What matters to the agent is Trump’s support for the uniformed men and his message of “Law and Order”, which, according to him, will disappear in the wake of the plane that will transport the tycoon to his luxurious Palm Beach mansion.
“What Biden is going to do is cut the police budget,” says the Chicano, echoing the ‘Trumpist’ propaganda. «Crime is going to skyrocket, it is already happening. I assure you that no police officer is going to draw a weapon to be denounced or sued later. Our hands are tied; every time we draw the pistol the camera is activated and, unless the attacker is pointing at you, you are looking for ruin. In his circle, George Floyd did not die from suffocation, but from overdose. And all the African-Americans whose videotaped deaths have gone viral “were armed, but the press doesn’t tell about it.”
“Holding my breath”
Together with his colleagues, he watches the deserted station, where few trains arrive because Amtrak has cut service. There are no taxis at the door, it would be very difficult to drive through a city turned into a maze of barricades and protection fences. Uber drivers don’t know where to find riders. The metro has closed a dozen terminals. Airb & b has canceled all reservations, as have many downtown hotels. The City Council has suspended private shared bike and scooter services. Restaurants have had to close their doors by municipal order and barely those with outdoor tables serve food on the sidewalks, in the middle of January. Washington has become the most inhospitable city ever to dissuade any attendee.
There is nothing to celebrate, just hang on the guy to see if the new president, who could not even arrive by train as he did with Barack Obama, following in Lincoln’s footsteps, can convince the 75 million Trump voters that with him the country will not disintegrate. “We are holding our breath,” Krittika confesses. With the inauguration being held peacefully, I am satisfied. ‘
QAnon wants to infiltrate today as a National Guard
The boss has spoken. Violence horrifies him. He feels sufficiently supported by the unconditional support of his followers and now it is time to call his ‘dogs’ to order to show their teeth later. Does Trump have that power? The FBI has intercepted messages in which QAnon supporters discussed how best to infiltrate the security perimeter that constitutes the entire center of Washington. It would be enough to put on the military uniform to pass through the checkpoints. Thus the weapon would not attract attention. And, for many of his followers, it would be like returning to the ranks. The Pentagon has admitted that among its men there are many followers of the militias who are plotting these days to plunge the country into chaos with an attack. The watchword among the forces of order is to pay attention to any soldier who seems out of place, but that means observing them all. Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Ohio … They’ve come from all over the country and they don’t even know where they are. They do not know the city, do not ask them where there is nothing. Spanish chef José Andrés has brought them beef and bean sandwiches to feed this out-of-place legion of military men. Among them can be found the lone wolf who lights the fuse. The FBI tries to discern which part of the intercepted conversations by chat is “aspirational” or “intentional”, but it knows that it still lacks an important piece of the puzzle: to stop the one who planted several homemade bombs on Kings Day.