Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend Joe Biden‘s inauguration in 13 days after overseeing Wednesday’s certification of the election while President Donald Trump is considering fleeing town the day before the ceremony.
Three sources close to Pence told Politico he will attend the January 20th swearing-in to show his support for a peaceful transition of power.
One said President Donald Trump’s criticism of Pence has made the decision easier.
‘It was a much more difficult decision days ago, but less difficult now,’ said a person close to Pence.
Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for the Vice President, told the news outlet that Pence and second lady Karen Pence ‘have not yet made a decision on their attendance.’
Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend Joe Biden ‘s inauguration in 13 days
President Trump hasn’t said if he will attend inauguration but he may leave Washington D.C. the day before – in part to ensure his last flight is on Air Force One
President Trump has not said whether or not he will attend. He only acknowledged Biden’s win in a statement put out early Thursday morning by an aide after Biden’s victory was certified by Congress.
But the president is considering leaving Washington D.C. on January 19th to head to his Mar-a-Lago residence in South Florida – in part so he can fly away on the signature plane Air Force One, officials said.
If Trump left Washington after Biden takes the oath, he would have to ask Biden to let him use the custom-built plane with its distinctive blue and white paint. All outgoing presidents have to make such a request, which is usually granted.
However, it would not have the call sign Air Force One as that can only be used when the current president is on board.
For example, when Barack Obama departed D.C. after he left office, the plane used the call sign ‘Special Mission 44’ – the number referring to Obama’s presidency. If the same pattern is followed, Trump’s flight would be ‘Special Mission 45.’
But if Trump departs ahead of Biden’s swearing-in, the plane would go by Air Force One.
Meanwhile, security will be ramped up for inauguration, with an inside location on standby after an unruly mob of insurgents climbed the stands and breached the Capitol building.
Republican Senator Roy Blunt, who chairs the congressional committee in charge of the inaugural ceremonies, said there would be a greater security presence on January 20th with Biden takes the oath of office.
He told reporters on Capitol Hill that ‘there’ll be much more depth’ and ‘deeper in terms of outside support’ when it comes to security concerns.
And Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, who also sits on the committee, said there would have to be a ‘major, major’ review of the security situation with ‘changes made.’
‘There’s going to have to be major, major reviews of what happened and changes made,’ she told CBS ‘This Morning.’
Workers installed a massive, anti-climbing wire fencing in front of the Capitol on Thursday morning as the campus recovered from the previous day’s mob scene that left four people dead, the building trashed, furniture broken and items stolen.
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser extended the city’s 6 p.m. curfew through Inauguration Day.
And the D.C. National Guard will be placed on a 30-day mobilization, ensuring they are on hand for the Jan. 20 inauguration, NBC News reported.
A new perimeter, anti-climbing fence is placed around the Capitol Thursday after insurgents swarmed the building the day before
Plastic sheeting covering the inauguration stands being constructed on the West Front of the Capitol was torn in the wake of the mob
Lawmakers planning for increased security on Inauguration Day, when Joe Biden takes the oath of office
On Wednesday, the pro-Trump mob climbed to the dais where Biden will take the oath
Workers cleaned up trash around the Capitol building on Thursday morning
Senators Roy Blunt (left) and Amy Klobuchar (right), who are on the congressional committee in charge of the inauguration, said there will be an increased security presence
Biden, himself, said he was not worried about his swearing-in day.
‘I am not concerned about my safety, security or the inauguration,’ he told reporters on Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware.
The pro-Trump insurgents swarmed over the stands being built on the West Front of the Capitol for the upcoming ceremony.
They climbed to the dais where Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take the oath of office. They waved flags from stand built for TV cameras to record the swearing-in.
And they sat in the same stands nearly every member of Congress, three former presidents, and members of the Supreme Court will sit.
Little damage was caused to the construction area however, with only some of the sheets of plastic covering the stands being ripped.
Blunt said there is an inside location prepared in case the swearing-in needs to be moved inside.
Originally planned in case there was bad weather, it may now be used in case another angry mob returns.
‘There’s a weather plan, I think the health plan everybody feels is better outside. So, up till now that has driven,’ the senior senator from Missouri said.
He pointed out the number of attendees, which had already been limited because of the coronavirus pandemic, would have to be cut even more.
‘If we had to move inside we’re talking about a few 100 people at most,’ he said.
He said his preferred inside location would be Emancipation Hall in the Capital Visitors Center, a large open-spaced lobby where more people could attend and still adhere to some form of social distancing.
Typically used to line up tourists preparing to visit the building, the hall is also used for special congressional ceremonies.
Biden condemned the rioting on Wednesday in a nationally televised address.
‘At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault,’ the president-elect said.
‘It’s chaos, it borders on sedition and it must end now. I call this mob to pull back and allow this work of democracy to go forward,’ he said.
Inaugurations feature most members of the government. President Donald Trump has not said if he will attend Biden’s swearing-in but former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are expected.
Most members of Congress attend as do the Supreme Court justices and other political figures like Hillary Clinton.
‘I’m always very concerned about the target potential of having this particular group, which you know usually includes most members of Congress, the Supreme Court every former president that could get here,’ Blunt said of his worries for the day.
Joe Biden has said he is not worried about security on Inauguration Day
Workers clean up the inauguration stands on the day after the mob climbed them
The stands are being built on the West Front of the Capitol for the January 20th ceremony
Insurgents climbed the Capitol walls Wednesday and breached the building
A pro-Trump mob stormed the inauguration stands in front of the Capitol
The mob climbed onto the stand built for TV cameras to record Biden’s inauguration
Inaugurations are classified national security events, which involves a closed air space and massive police and military presence.
Biden already had been planning a scaled back event because of the pandemic and his team has encouraged supporters to stay home. The National Mall is typically packed with supporters to witness their candidate become president.
Workers have disbanded stands built around the White House for the inauguration parade, which will now be a virtual event.
Instead, Joe and Jill Biden, along side Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff, will participate in a socially distanced Pass in Review on the Capitol’s West side. Those are military traditions where Biden will review the readiness of military troops.
Biden will also receive a traditional presidential escort with representatives from every branch of the military from 15th Street in Washington to the White House.
That, the Presidential Inaugural Committee says, will be socially distanced too, while ‘providing the American people and world with historic images of the President-elect proceeding to the White House without attracting large crowds’.
Additionally, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have canceled the traditional luncheon held on Inauguration Day for the new president, sparing Biden a crowded sit down on Capitol Hill after he takes the oath of office.