(The Center Square) – President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday will look far different from those in recent memory due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and a violent outbreak at the Capitol two weeks ago.
The number of attendees has been scaled back for health precautions, and some 25,000 National Guardsmen will be on patrol. Streets around the Capitol are blocked off, a security perimeter of 4.6 miles has been fenced off and the National Mall has been closed, all aimed at reducing crowd size. There also will not be a parade following the ceremony from the Capitol to the White House.
Members of Congress, who normally get dozens of tickets to the event, will get just one guest ticket each this year. Incoming and outgoing Cabinet secretaries and Supreme Court justices are also expected to attend.
National Guardsmen assigned to the security detail in the capital are undergoing additional background screenings, although Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller said Monday there is “no intelligence indicating an insider threat.”
At the same time, the security presence at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan will begin to loosen. New York City Police Department officials said streets around the building will reopen to vehicle traffic and a communications center inside will be dismantled.
President Donald Trump plans to leave the White House early Wednesday morning and arrive at his home in Florida before Biden is sworn in at noon. On his final full day in office, Trump plans to issue close to 100 pardons, although it is unclear yet if that will include himself and his family. White House staff say they are also trying to persuade Trump to continue the tradition of presidents leaving a hand-written note in the Oval Office for the successor.
Biden aides say he plans to sign about 100 executive orders on his first day in office, including one that will have the U.S. rejoin the Paris climate accord and another ending a travel ban on predominately Muslim countries.
Biden also said recently that he wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. It is currently $7.25. The Congressional Budget Office said such a move would result in 1.3 million jobs being lost.
Country singer Garth Brooks is expected to perform as part of the swearing-in ceremony. Brooks told reporters it is not a political statement but rather that he supports Biden’s call for unity. Brooks said Biden’s wife, Jill, called him personally to extend the invitation.
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