Joe Biden Is 'Not Afraid' to Take Oath of Office Outside Despite U.S. Capitol Security Concerns
Biden spoke with reporters after publicly receiving his second coronavirus vaccine on Monday
President-elect Joe Biden says he isn't concerned about taking the oath of office outside, in light of last week's violent riots in the U.S. Capitol building.
"I'm not afraid of taking the oath outside," Biden told reporters Monday, after publicly receiving his second coronavirus vaccine at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware.
"I think it's critically important that there be a real serious focus on holding those folks who engaged in sedition and threatened people's lives, defaced public property, caused great damage, that they be held accountable," he added.
Biden, 78, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, 56, are scheduled to take their oaths on the west front of the Capitol building next Wednesday, a Congressional committee confirmed last Thursday — despite some officials expressing security concerns surrounding the Jan. 20 event.
"[Jan. 6] was a sad and solemn day for our country," Sens. Roy Blunt and Amy Klobuchar said in a statement on behalf of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies last week.
"The outrageous attack on the Capitol, however, will not stop us from affirming to Americans—and the world—that our democracy endures," the senators' statement continued. "Our committee's bipartisan, bicameral membership remains committed to working with our many partners to execute ceremonies that are safe and showcase our determined democracy."
The hallmark event of American democracy — in which the outgoing president typically looks on as the new president takes over as Commander in Chief — is being planned under unprecedented circumstances. A global pandemic, a tumultuous transfer of power, and security concerns stemming from Trump's false claims he had the election stolen from him have uprooted many of the traditional aspects of Inauguration Day.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has asked the public to not attend the event due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the public safety concerns in the aftermath of last Wednesday's pro-Donald Trump violence, where rioters were incited by Trump's repeated false claims, which have been parroted by many Republican lawmakers.
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The mayor also sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security on Sunday, "strongly" urging the agency to step up its security measures for Inauguration Day. Bowser's push for heightened security follows reports that far-right extremists are discussing further plans to march on the nation's capital again in the coming weeks, as well as on state houses throughout the country.
Last month, Biden's event planners announced the Inauguration Day ceremonies would largely be a remote affair, including a virtual parade across the country.
The parade "will celebrate America's heroes, highlight Americans from all walks of life in different states and regions, and reflect on the diversity, heritage, and resilience of the country as we begin a new American era," Presidential Inauguration Committee CEO Tony Allen said in a statement.
Participants in the events will be announced in the coming weeks, Allen added, and they will include "musical acts, local bands, poets, dance troupes, and more paying homage to America's heroes on the frontlines of the pandemic."