More than 20,000 soldiers with the national guard will be present in the capital for the Biden inauguration, D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said on Wednesday.
“There’s a major security threat,” Contee said. “And we’re working to mitigate those threats.”
He added that though specific numbers have yet to be finalized by the Secret Service, “you can expect to see upwards of 20,000 members of the national guard that will be here.”
CBS separately reported that the amount of national guard troops in Washington for the inauguration had been increased by 5,000.
A Defense official confirms that the National Guard is now planning to bring 20,000 troops to Washington – an increase of 5,000. – @CBSDavidMartin reporting
— Mary Walsh (@CBSWalsh) January 13, 2021
The remarks come as far-right extremists grasp at ways to prevent Joe Biden from taking office next week, after they managed to penetrate the Capitol building and interrupt the Electoral College count on Jan. 6.
Law enforcement is warning about several plots over the coming week, House Democrats have said, including one that would see thousands of pro-Trump extremists surround the Capitol and White House.
And in a sign of how serious the situation has become, the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a letter on Tuesday to the entire military affirming that Biden would be inaugurated next week.
Contee added that troops had begun deploying to Washington on Wednesday under a National Special Security Event put into place by former Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.
The scale of the security deployment serves as a stark reminder of how President Trump’s effort to overturn the result of the election and install himself for a second term has left the country in an unprecedentedly vulnerable position.
“We take this seriously,” Contee said. “And as the mayor has encouraged residents and visitors from around the country: we’re not asking people to come to D.C. for this.”