"We cannot yield to those who would try and make us afraid of who we are,” the vice president-elect told NPR

By Sean Neumann
January 15, 2021 04:16 PM
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Vice President-elect Kamala Harris
| Credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris joined President-elect Joe Biden in saying she's not afraid to take her oath of office outside at next week's inauguration, amid heightened security concerns.

Harris, 56, told NPR's Morning Edition on Friday that she and Biden would follow through on taking their oaths on the Capitol's west front steps.

"I think that we cannot yield to those who would try and make us afraid of who we are," she said. "We are, for all of our faults and imperfections, we are a nation that was founded on very important principles and guided by extremely important ideals. And we cannot abandon that."

Harris added: "We are a work in progress, but we cannot abandon the appreciation that we should all have for the traditions that are symbolic of our commitment to our democracy, which includes a peaceful transfer of power, which includes what we do to bring in one administration after another in a way that is about upholding basic standards, and in particular, those standards as outlined in the Constitution."

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris
| Credit: NOAH BERGER/AFP via Getty

Security surrounding next week's swearing-in ceremony has drastically increased since a pro-Donald Trump mob stormed the Capitol last Wednesday. Five people died, including a rioter and a Capitol police officer.

Federal prosecutors said in a court filing this week that there's "strong evidence" showing the mob had aimed to "capture and assassinate elected officials," according to documents obtained by PEOPLE.

More than 20,000 National Guard troops are expected to be in Washington, D.C., for next Wednesday's inaugural ceremonies, while much of the city has been under tight security since last week's attack.

Trump, 74, was impeached a second time on Wednesday for his role in inciting the riot. (While he expressed sympathy for the mob at the time, calling them "very special," he later said he disavowed anyone who carried out political violence.)

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and President-elect Joe Biden photographed for PEOPLE on Aug. 15 outside Wilmington, Delaware.
| Credit: Gioncarlo Valentine

The FBI has reportedly warned law enforcement agencies around the country of potentially more armed protests taking place at all 50 state capitol buildings in the coming week, while D.C. is under a "state of emergency" through Jan. 24.

Like his incoming vice president, Biden, 78, has said he will proceed with his oath as planned.

"I'm not afraid of taking the oath outside," he said Monday.

The president-elect added then that it was "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."

Due to the newfound security concerns and the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, both local officials and inaugural event planners have asked the public not to attend the event in-person and instead watch from home, as much of the programming will be virtual and remote.