D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday urged Americans not to come to the nation’s capital for the 59th presidential inauguration on Jan. 20 after a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol last week.
“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 on January the 6th,” Miss Bowser said during a press conference.
The mayor also discussed a slew of letters she sent to federal officials following the siege. She is seeking to extend the National Special Security Event period through Jan. 24, to receive a daily intelligence and threat brief during the NSSE, and to collaborate on a security and federal force deployment plan.
Miss Bowser also asked President Trump to make a pre-emergency declaration ahead of the inauguration, which was also done in 2009 for the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
“The inauguration poses several unprecedented challenges that exceed the scope of our traditional planning processes: the COVID-19 pandemic and of course the domestic terror attack on the nation’s Capitol,” Miss Bowser said.
Asked why the mayor did not request that the inauguration’s public ceremony be canceled altogether, Miss Bowser said the transition of power “in my view, should be public.”
Moreover, the mayor sent a letter to Interior Secretary David L. Bernhardt asking him to cancel and reject public gathering permits in the District throughout the NSSE.
This request has “repeatedly” been made since June 2020 due to the pandemic “and this week demonstrated the National Park Service’s willingness to approve last-minute permits and major adjustments,” according to a slideshow shown during the brief.
The National Park Service approved a permit on Jan. 4 for the conservative group Women for America First, which had been amended from 5,000 to 30,000 participants.
The conservative group’s permit said it “will not conduct an organized march from the Ellipse at the conclusion of the rally” on Jan. 6.
Nonetheless, Mr. Trump spoke during the rally and called upon his supporters to march to the Capitol to try to give “weak” Republicans “the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”
Miss Bowser said she believes this inaugural period needs to be very different from others in light of the recent events.
“[P]eople coming to demonstrate peacefully are very different than the people we saw storm the Capitol the other day, and I think that it will be shown that those people were organized, trained people who went into that building,” Miss Bowser said.