Local and federal security officials have said that around 20,000 National Guard members will be deployed in Washington D.C. for Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.
“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,” Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said on Wednesday.
Officials previously stated that about 15,000 National Guard members were sent to the District of Columbia for the event.
Contee stipulated that the inauguration was designated as a “national special security event.”
In a statement on Wednesday, President Donald Trump again called on supporters not to 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.”
Weapons are distributed to members of the National Guard outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 13, 2021. (Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
There were rumors flying around social media that the National Guard was moving to implement a nationwide lockdown or quarantine.
But 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,” they said. “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 will not allow travelers flying to Washington area airports to check firearms on its flights before the inauguration, Chief Executive Ed Bastian said on Thursday.
“We’re all on high alert based on the events over the last couple of weeks in Washington,” Bastian told CNBC. He told Reuters his airline had placed passengers on a no-fly list for their involvement in disruptive incidents.
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.
President Donald Trump on the South Lawn of the White House on Jan. 12, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The National Park Service said a decision had yet to be made on whether to close the National Mall running from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial.
The park service closed the Washington Monument to tours and Mayor Muriel Bowser asked visitors to stay away from the city.
Reuters contributed to this report.