About 20,000 National Guard members will be deployed in Washington for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, local and federal officials said.
“I think you can expect to see somewhere upwards of beyond 20,000 members of the National Guard that will be here in the footprint of the District of Columbia,” Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said on Jan. 13.
Officials previously stated that about 15,000 National Guard members were sent to the District of Columbia for the event.
The inauguration has been designated as a “national special security event,” Contee said.
In a statement on Jan. 13, President Donald Trump reiterated to supporters that they shouldn’t engage in violence.
“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind,” Trump said. “That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You.”
While there was speculation on social media that the National Guard was moving to implement a nationwide lockdown or quarantine, the South Carolina National Guard, among others, said that the claim is false.
“The rumors that the South Carolina National Guard is supporting a statewide or nationwide lockdown or quarantine are not true,” the post said. “Rumors like this can create confusion and anxiety in the organization and our communities.
“If you hear or see something that seems unfounded, do not continue spreading the information. Verify that information with one of the official sources pertaining to the National Guard Bureau, the South Carolina National Guard, and the state of South Carolina.”
Meanwhile, Delta Airlines won’t allow travelers flying to Washington-area airports to check firearms on its flights before the inauguration, Chief Executive Ed Bastian said on Jan. 14. Only law enforcement officials will be exempt, he said.
“We’re all on high alert based on the events over the last couple of weeks in Washington,” Bastian told CNBC.
In Washington, the perimeter of a high fence surrounding the Capitol was pushed out to encompass the U.S. Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. Nearby roads were closed, and some businesses said they would shut down.
The National Mall—the area between the Capitol building and the Lincoln Memorial—will be closed to the public on Inauguration Day, two federal officials in different agencies told NBC News.
The National Park Service has closed the Washington Monument to tours, and Mayor Muriel Bowser has asked visitors to avoid the city.
Reuters contributed to this report.