Feinstein Calls for Maximum Safety Measures at Presidential Inauguration


Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today called on the heads of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies to consider all options to make sure next week’s inauguration is safe.

“Given recent events, most notably the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol by individuals intent on undermining the election results, we are all very concerned about potential threats this year. As such, and given the plans already in place to minimize the chances of the spread of COVID-19, I believe it important to consider substantial changes to the traditional inaugural program in order to ensure the safety of all involved,” Feinstein wrote.

Full text of the letter follows:

January 11, 2021

The Honorable Roy Blunt, Chairman
The Honorable Amy Klobuchar
Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies
S-407, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senators Blunt and Klobuchar,

I write to urge you to consider all options to ensure that the upcoming Inauguration is peaceful and safe, including by moving it indoors.

As a past chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies myself, I know the level of effort that goes into planning the Inauguration and very much appreciate your work over the past several months. Given recent events, most notably the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol by individuals intent on undermining the election results, we are all very concerned about potential threats this year. As such, and given the plans already in place to minimize the chances of the spread of COVID-19, I believe it important to consider substantial changes to the traditional inaugural program in order to ensure the safety of all involved.

The insurrection on January 6 demonstrates that there are large numbers of Americans motivated to attack the underpinnings of our democracy, and the Inauguration is a pre-eminent symbol of our traditions. They included white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and other ideologically motivated groups that have pledged to return to the Capitol to keep Donald Trump as president. They have also demonstrated their ability and willingness to use weapons, to include firearms, pipe bombs, and other improvised explosive devices.

I am also concerned that these individuals will draw lessons from January 6 that the U.S. Capitol is a permissive environment and that they can again be successful in overcoming the security in place. With some additional planning, they could also incorporate new threats, to include stand-off weapons and more advanced tactics, disguises, and – as hard as it is to believe – even possibly assistance from Executive Branch or Congressional allies.

Although the number of attendees for the inaugural have already been reduced due to COVID concerns, I urge you to consider additional options to include moving the ceremony indoors, added security personnel, additional screening, and any other options possible to ensure a safe transition of power.

I know these thoughts are very much on your minds as well and appreciate your continued efforts.

With very best regards,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

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