Trump approves emergency declaration for Washington, effective through Jan. 24

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U S Capitol Building
Photo taken on Jan. 11, 2021 shows the U.S. Capitol Building seen through a barrier fence in Washington, D.C., the United States. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday approved the emergency declaration for Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, through Jan. 24, covering the date of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

“Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that an emergency exists in the District of Columbia and ordered Federal assistance to supplement the District’s response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from the 59th Presidential Inauguration from Jan. 11 to Jan. 24, 2021,” the Office of the White House Press Secretary said in a statement.

The emergency declaration authorized the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate resources with state and local authorities, and came as Washington braced for heightened possibility of violence in the lead-up to and during Biden’s inauguration.

The declaration was in response to a letter sent to Trump on Sunday by Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who already declared a 15-day public emergency for the city shortly after pro-Trump demonstrators stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. “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 D.C.

National Guard support through Jan. 24, 2021,” Bowser wrote in the letter. “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 Jan. 6,” the mayor said.

“Based on recent events and intelligence assessments, we must prepare for large groups of trained and armed extremists to come to Washington, D.C.”

On Monday, Bowser was joined by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan in urging people to stay away from inaugural events, citing “last week’s violent insurrection as well as the ongoing and deadly COVID-19 pandemic.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned about plans of armed protests from Jan. 16 through Jan. 20 at all the 50 state capitols, and from Jan. 17 through Jan. 20 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

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