President Donald Trump on Monday declared an emergency for the District of Columbia, stretching through Jan. 24 and arising from the Jan. 20 inauguration of Joe Biden.
A release from the White House said: “The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the District of Columbia.”
It continued: “Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, limited to direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 100 percent Federal funding.”
Over the weekend, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser sent a letter to Trump asking for the declaration, in hopes of freeing up more funding for the inauguration’s security as safety concerns rise in the aftermath of last Wednesday’s violent siege at the Capitol.
“In light of the attack on the Capitol and intelligence suggesting further violence is likely during the Inaugural period, my administration has reevaluated our preparedness posture for the Inauguration, including requesting the extension of DC National Guard support through January 24, 2021,” Bowser wrote in her letter.
The Capitol fracas involved supporters of Trump storming the grounds and building as Congress was meeting to certify the Electoral College win of Joe Biden. Prior to the event, Trump held a rally nearby where he reiterated his weeks-old contention that his election loss was the result of widespread fraud.
Trump critics insist he incited his crowd to march to the Capitol and lay siege to it, disrupting the congressional session for hours and leaving four civilians and one Capitol police officer dead. Indeed, congressional Dems are now pushing forward an article of impeachment, accusing Trump, in the final days of his term of office, of incitement to insurrection.
Bowser said she felt the plans and resources assigned to the inauguration were inadequate, particularly given the current high level of unrest. The FBI has issued a warning saying there’s chatter about violent assaults on capitols in all 50 states, and disruption to Biden’s swearing-in.
Biden has indicated he intends to proceed with the inaugural — already streamlined and largely virtual because of the pandemic — despite the violence at the Capitol. Trump won’t be attending, but Vice President Mike Pence will.
Earlier Monday, Bowser, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan urged people to stay away from inaugural events because of “last week’s violent insurrection as well as the ongoing and deadly COVID-19 pandemic.”