When US President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Wednesday he”ll be facing a to-do list like no other: Combat the pandemic, rescue the economy and heal a deeply divided nation. And when he takes the oath of office, he’ll do so in a city under siege – not from a foreign enemy but from angry supporters of Donald Trump.
That all adds up to a presidential inauguration like no other. Drama and some traditions of course but there’ll also be the tightest security in living memory – and only 1,000 guests instead of the usual 200,000.
The pandemic and the January 6 storming of the Capitol have changed everything. Washington, DC, is on virtual lockdown even as the preparations are underway.
US flags are being placed in the National Mall where visitors would normally stand. They represent the thousands of Americans who have lost their lives to Covid-19.
Two hundred officers from the New York City Police Department are to assist with security. The authorities are determined to prevent a repeat of the violence seen at the Capitol.
New video released by The New Yorker shows Trump supporters inside the seat of US democracy. At one point intruders are seen rifling desks of lawmakers and photographing documents.
Over 25,000 National Guard troops will be the backbone of the security deployment. Again taking no chances, they have all been vetted by the FBI after concerns were raised about an “internal threat”.
All 50 US states are also on alert for possible violent protests.
And what of the outgoing President? Donald Trump and his wife Melania are defying tradition refusing to attend the ceremony of his successor…possibly concentrating on moving house to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
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