Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser on Sunday sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking for an emergency declaration in order to get additional funding for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration as safety concerns mount following the US Capitol breach.
“In light of the attack on the Capitol and intelligence suggesting further violence is likely during the Inaugural period, my administration has reevaluated our preparedness posture for the Inauguration, including requesting the extension of DC National Guard support through January 24, 2021,” Bowser wrote in her letter to the President.
“I have determined that the plans and resources previously assigned to the Inauguration are insufficient to establish a safe and secure environment as a direct result of the insurrectionist actions that occurred on January 6. Based on recent events and intelligence assessments, we must prepare for large groups of trained and armed extremists to come to Washington, DC.”
Bowser’s letter reflects the widespread safety concerns felt in the nation’s capital and across the country in the wake of the violence at the US Capitol complex that left five dead, including an officer with the US Capitol Police.
Experts now warn that the calls for violence have only intensified ahead of Inauguration Day, when Biden will be sworn in as commander in chief.
“We are seeing … chatter from these white supremacists, from these far-right extremists – they feel emboldened in this moment,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks and counters hate. “We fully expect that this violence could actually get worse before it gets better.”
Biden has indicated he intends to proceed with the inaugural – already curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic – as planned despite the violence at the Capitol last week. Trump is not planning to attend.
Beyond seeking an emergency declaration, Bowser told CBS’ “Face the Nation” earlier Sunday that she will also ask the Department of Homeland Security to begin their “national special security event” timeline sooner than planned, as well as include the US Capitol in their coverage area for the inauguration.
“I will tell you that given the events of last week, that this inauguration preparation has to be different than any other inauguration with only 10 days to go,” she explained during the interview.
Bowser ultimately assessed in her letter to Trump that despite the security assets the city has in place, “significant preparedness gaps remain that cannot be remedied without this emergency declaration and direct federal assistance.”
In coordination with the federal government, she wrote, “we must take immediate, coordinated action to increase the security posture in the Nation’s Capital to prevent an emergency situation during the Inauguration.”
CNN’s Rob Kuznia, Curt Devine, Scott Bronstein and Bob Ortega contributed to this report.