President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has canceled plans to drive Amtrak to Washington for his inauguration next week, reflecting intense security concerns around the event in the wake of last week’s riot at the Capitol.
As a senator, Mr. Biden commuted the Amtrak train from his home state of Delaware for decades and became a public advocate for government-subsidized rail service. He kicked off his 1988 presidential campaign from the back of an Amtrak train and returned home on his last day as vice president in 2017.
He had hoped to recreate everyone’s journey once more for his swearing-in. But after a briefing to FBI and Secret Service officials on the inauguration’s security concerns, Mr Biden’s team agreed the 90-minute train ride should be canceled, according to a person familiar with the decision. .
“The country has continued to learn more about the threat to our democracy and the potential for further violence in the coming days, both in the national capital region and in cities across the country,” said the transition team in a statement after the briefing. Wednesday. “It’s a challenge that the president-elect and his team take incredibly seriously.”
Federal and local officials have warned of the prospect of extremist activity in Washington and the country in the coming days. Mr Biden had previously planned a muted inauguration given the public health risk of mass gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic. Many traditional gatherings and festivities will take place digitally during the day, and a prime-time special will air on TV online Wednesday evening.
Mr. Biden is still considering taking the oath in front of Capitol Hill. Earlier this week, he said he was “not afraid” to do so.