With President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s inauguration just three days away, an air of anxiety hung over Washington and state capitals across the country, as they braced for the possibility of more violence after the Right-wing extremists stormed Capitol Hill this month in an attempt to keep President Trump’s loss from being certified.
Posters on right-wing websites and social media called for marches on Washington and the 50 state capitals on Sunday. In recent days, however, some posters have discouraged people from showing up as officials have tightened security, making it difficult to know what to expect as Wednesday’s inauguration approaches.
Thousands of National Guard soldiers flocked to Washington, and the Secret Service announced a “green zone” in the downtown area, where streets were blocked by concrete barricades and military vehicles and sirens. police sounded on Saturday. Pentagon officials said 15,000 National Guard members from all 50 states and three territories arrived in Washington on Sunday, with up to 25,000 expected by Wednesday.
Federal officials have said they plan to screen hundreds of potential plane passengers, placing all those identified among the violent protesters on Capitol Hill Jan. 6 on a “no-fly list.” The Transportation Security Administration said it was increasing the number of federal marshals on flights and explosive detection dogs at airports.
Even as security officials remained on high alert for any signs of unrest, Mr Biden sought to signal a sharp break with the Trump administration by announcing a series of swift management actions planned for his first 10 days in power.
They include lifting the travel ban in several predominantly Muslim countries, rallying to the Paris climate change agreement, extending pandemic-related limits on evictions and student loan payments, issuing a mask warrant for federal property and interstate travel, and directing agencies to figure out how to reunite children separated from their families after crossing the border, according to a memo released Saturday by Ron Klain, the new Chief of Staff to Mr. Biden in the White House, and obtained by The New York Times.
The executive’s action plan came after Mr Biden announced he would push Congress to pass a $ 1.9 trillion economic stimulus and pandemic relief package and after unveiling a $ 20 billion “national immunization program” designed to bring “100 million Covid vaccines to the arms of the American people” on his 100th day in office.
“You have my word,” Mr. Biden said in a speech Friday in Wilmington, Del., “We are going to handle the hell with this operation.”
Mr Biden also introduced members of his White House science team on Saturday, pledging to strengthen scientific research and thinking on topics such as the coronavirus and climate change.