Preparations for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration went on Tuesday amid a heavy security presence in Washington, with the areas around the Capitol and downtown streets closed to the public and tens of thousands of National Guard troops mobilized in a massive show of force.
In a major departure from previous inaugurations, most of the events were already planned to take place virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic. In a sign of the anxiety gripping Washington following the riot at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob earlier this month, the building was shut down and its west front, where a rehearsal for Wednesday’s inaugural ceremony was taking place, was evacuated Monday after a “small fire” under a nearby bridge prompted an announcement of a security threat.
On Tuesday evening, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will speak at a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool to commemorate the nearly 400,000 Americans who have died from Covid-19. Biden’s inauguration comes as the Senate prepares to try President Donald Trump on one article of impeachment for urging thousands of supporters to march on the Capitol on Jan. 6.