Why Joe Biden Is Going Ahead With An Outdoor Inauguration

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House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) is one of President-elect Joe Biden’s closest allies and the chairman of his inaugural committee. But after a violent mob swarmed the Capitol earlier this month, he’s not sure about one aspect of Biden’s swearing-in this week.

“I, for one, would much rather see [the swearing-in] done inside for security purposes ― in the rotunda, or in the hall of the House, for that matter,” Clyburn said during an appearance on MSNBC last week, referring to Biden’s decision to have a traditional swearing-in on the west front of the Capitol.

Clyburn isn’t alone. The events of Jan. 6, when President Donald Trump and his allies egged on rioters seeking to overturn the presidential election results, along with the failure of the Capitol Police and the rest of the federal government to adequately prepare, has many spooked about the possibility of further violent protesters or right-wing violence on Inauguration Day.

The inauguration has been held inside before, though that was for weather-related reasons. Biden’s team, however, plans to go forward with a fairly normal ― at least for the coronavirus era ― inauguration program and ceremony, both because of their confidence in the security planning for such a major event and because of the desire to send a message of resiliency to would-be insurrectionists.

Virginia National Guard troops march across the east front of the U.S. Capitol on their way to their guard posts on Jan. 16 in Washington, DC. After the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, the FBI has warned of additional threats in the nation's capital and in all 50 states. (Samuel Corum via Getty Images)
Virginia National Guard troops march across the east front of the U.S. Capitol on their way to their guard posts on Jan. 16 in Washington, DC. After the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, the FBI has warned of additional threats in the nation's capital and in all 50 states. (Samuel Corum via Getty Images)

There have been some changes, and there is clearly heightened concern. A planned Amtrak trip to Washington by Biden, for instance, was scrapped. On Wednesday, the FBI and Secret Service teamed up with incoming members of Biden’s national security team to brief the president-elect on inaugural security.

“The team is engaging with the current administration to gain as much information as possible on the threat picture, and on the preparations being put in place to deter and defend against violent disruptions or attacks,” Biden’s transition team said in a statement. “The transition of power from one...

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