WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) – In anticipation of further unrest in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said Sunday that she is asking the federal government for additional security preparations to ensure the safety of the event and the district.
In an interview with “Face the Nation,” Bowser said this year’s inauguration has to be different than any other in the nation’s history.
“I’m requesting from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that they take additional steps, including expanding the length of the time that this national special security event is in place,” Bowser said. “Further, I am asking that they extend the perimeter of their coverage area for this national security special event, which is the inauguration, to include the Capitol.”
Bowser said she will also be sending President Donald Trump a letter asking for a pre-disaster emergency declaration for the District of Columbia ahead of the inauguration, which will allow for additional federal coordination.
In her letter to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, Bowser asked the agency to extend the “national security special event period” to run from January 11 to January 24. It is currently set for a period of January 19 to January 21.
The assault on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, in which a pro-Trump mob was able to push past Capitol Police and through security barriers to storm the Capitol building, has led to outrage over the lack of preparedness in responding to the crowd. Their assault on the Capitol sent lawmakers fleeing from the House and Senate chambers, and Vice President Mike Pence was whisked off the Senate floor, where he was watching the debate over Arizona’s electoral results. Five people died in the melee.
Ahead of the protest January 6, Bowser requested support from the D.C. National Guard, and the Pentagon activated 340 members. Following the attack on the Capitol, a total of 6,200 members of the National Guard from six states across the Northeast have been activated until after the inauguration to assist law enforcement in Washington.
Federal prosecutors have announced charges against at least 17 people, while dozens more have been charged in superior court for their actions in the assault on the Capitol. Law enforcement is in the process of identifying those involved.
Bowser said some of the Trump supporters seen charging the Capitol building appeared to have had formal training.
“What we have seen is real domestic terrorism in our nation’s capital, and that’s what we need to call it,” she said. “Who we saw charging the Capitol building were trained people in many cases, former military, former law enforcement. I think we may find other trained people, trained at marching and surging and sieging buildings. So we have to take it seriously.”