9 months ago

No visible protesters near U.S. Capitol amid enhanced security

Despite concern from law enforcement leading up to Inauguration Day, there were no visible protesters around the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, PBS NewsHour’s foreign affairs and defense correspondent Nick Schifrin told Judy Woodruff.

“We’ve been running into no protesters. We’ve been running into only journalists and security and that is as designed,” Schifrin said.

Heightened security measures to deter possible violence following the Jan. 6 attack on the nation’s capital include about 25,000 National Guard troops in Washington, D.C., 10 foot high fences around the Capitol and closures of public spaces like the National Mall, Schifrin said.

9 months ago

What’s next on the schedule for Biden and Harris?   

At about 1:30 p.m. ET at the Capitol’s East Front, Biden will perform the “Pass in Review,” a military tradition in which the incoming president reviews the readiness of military troops. After that, Biden and Harris will join former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and their spouses, as they travel to Arlington Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. From there, Biden will travel with a military escort from 15th Street to the White House.

9 months ago

Calm at state capitols

Calm prevailed outside heavily fortified state capitol buildings across the U.S. as Joe Biden was sworn in as president.

The FBI had warned of the possibility for armed demonstrations leading up to the inauguration after President Donald Trump repeatedly and falsely claimed the election was stolen from him.

Fewer than a half-dozen demonstrators showed up outside the capitols in Concord, New Hampshire, and Lansing, Michigan. A lone protester wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat stood outside a chain-link fence surrounding the California Capitol in Sacramento, as dozens of police officers and National Guard troops guarded every entrance.

Three protesters were outside the Nebraska Capitol in Lincoln, one waving a flag that read “Biden is not the president.”

Dump trucks, prison buses and other government vehicles were used to barricade streets around the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta, though no protesters were there.

Michigan lawmakers canceled a session scheduled for Wednesday out of caution. But in Wisconsin, legislators planned to move ahead with a committee hearing that was to be open to the public.

9 months ago

The Capitol is an especially important symbol of our democracy’s resilience today, Jonathan Capehart says

Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post told the PBS NewsHour that Lady Gaga’s performance left him emotional, specifically the singer’s gesture to the flag atop the dome of the Capitol building in light of the Jan 6. insurrection.

“In that moment, with that gesture, she spoke to the power of the flag, the power of our institutions, and more importantly, the power of our democracy,” Capehart said. “And how even when it was under attack it was resilient…that citadel of American democracy that was trashed at the instigation of the former president of the United States was able to turn around later that night, certify the election, and then two weeks later inaugurate a new president and a new vice president of the United States.”

9 months ago

Biden, Harris share first tweets from official White House accounts

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris shared their first tweets on the official Twitter accounts for the president (@POTUS) and vice president (@VP) of the United States. While Donald Trump was a prolific tweeter, he typically posted from his personal account, which was permanently suspended after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

9 months ago

Masks, but little social distancing, among inaugural attendees

Inauguration guests wore masks, but hugged and talked in close proximity to one another, despite the CDC guidance to maintain a minimum distance of six feet between individuals who do not share a household, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “As you can see there isn’t a lot of social distancing. They all are wearing masks, but they’re not keeping the six foot distance,” said PBS NewsHour’s anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff. “Maybe that’s just the urge, finally you’re seeing old friends.”

9 months ago

Pence delivers formal farewell in Trump’s absence

Former Vice President Pence offered the outgoing administration’s formal goodbye to Vice President Harris on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. The tradition would normally happen between the outgoing and incoming presidents, but Trump did not attend.

9 months ago

Lisa Desjardins notes ‘profound’ moments of prayer

Some of the most profound moments from President Joe Biden’s inauguration were those of prayer, PBS NewsHour Congressional Correspondent Lisa Desjardins tells Judy Woodruff. Biden’s message was “trying to uplift the nation” on a chilly day. People want to restore themselves and the country to a better place, Desjardins said, adding that after the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago, “This sense of being wounded is something I really felt here.”

9 months ago

Bush speechwriter: Biden’s speech ‘a return to moral normality’

Speechwriter and columnist Michael Gerson, who wrote President George W. Bush’s second inaugural address, told the PBS NewsHour that Biden’s speech set a new tone for political discourse after years of divisive language from Donald Trump. “That was the most important thing about the speech, is the reforming of the guardrails of American rhetoric and providing a refuge for people of goodwill, a place to know they’re not alone,” Gerson said.

9 months ago

Longtime Biden confident Rev. Beaman closed ceremony with a benediction

Rev. Dr. Sylvester Beaman who preaches at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church has seen the new president through struggles, including the death of his son Beau Biden in 2015. Beaman was also one of the 15 Black leaders Biden met with in June to discuss racial justice reform after the police killing of George Floyd triggered Black Lives Matter protests all over the country.