After the breaching of the Capitol last week, officials in Washington D.C. have serious concerns about the potential for violent protests on or around the Jan. 20 inauguration event that will see Joe Biden sworn-in as the nation’s next president.
In order to help alleviate some of those concerns, President Donald Trump signed off on a preemptive emergency declaration for Washington D.C. from Jan. 11-24, a move that frees up a variety of federal funding and resources that can be used to help maintain order and provide safety for all involved.
President Trump’s signing of the emergency declaration on Monday came in response to a request submitted Sunday with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Newsmax reported.
Trump’s emergency declaration
The emergency declaration authorizes both DHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to “coordinate all disaster relief efforts” intended to alleviate any hardship and suffering of local residents and to “provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures … 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.”
“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,” the order declares.
The directive further notes that FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor has named Thomas Fargione, a top leader in FEMA‘s Office of Response and Recovery, as the “Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.”
Mayor Bowser’s letter of demands
The request for a preemptive emergency declaration was not the only thing that Mayor Bowser asked for in a letter dated Sunday to DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf.
In fact, the mayor’s first request was for an expansion of the dates that would encompass the designation of the presidential inauguration as a “National Special Security Event” from its original span of Jan. 19-21 to include Jan. 11-24, a request that was also granted via President Trump’s directive.
As for the preemptive disaster declaration, Bowser wrote, “This declaration will enhance and expedite direct federal assistance needed to prepare for the Inauguration. My Administration is developing specific requests for direct federal assistance and will work with FEMA to execute those requests upon approval of the declaration.”
The mayor’s third major request was for DHS to coordinate with other federal agencies and departments, such as the Departments of Defense and Justice, to deploy federal law enforcement and security personnel on federal property within the District in order to free up the city’s Metropolitan Police Department to focus the bulk of its attention on the District’s eight wards instead.
In addition, Mayor Bowser also asked for daily threat assessment briefings from the FBI, the cancellation and denial of all protest permit applications with the National Park Service for the duration, and that the administration acts swiftly to address her concerns and meet her demands.
Trump said last week that he does not plan to attend the inauguration ceremony. Vice President Mike Pence reportedly plans to attend, as do former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.