After arriving at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, Biden, accompanied by his deputy Kamala Harris, participated in a ceremony at a memorial dedicated to honoring more than 400,000 Americans who died as a result of the emerging coronavirus.
Before leaving his hometown in Delaware, Biden spoke – in a word of intense emotion – of his desire in his youth to fight for what he had dreamed of, and of his Irish roots and his pride in them.
Biden said there are great opportunities in these countries, but added that the country is going through dark times but there is always light.
Coinciding with Biden’s arrival in Washington, the White House broadcast a recording of the speech of outgoing President Donald Trump, in which he confirmed that today, Wednesday, he will hand over power to a new administration, wishing it to make America safe and prosperous.
Trump – who avoided mentioning President Biden’s name in his speech – called on Americans to pray for the success of the new administration.
He said that the storming of the Congress headquarters on the sixth of January cannot be tolerated, indicating at the same time that the movement that took place that day had just begun, as he put it.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera’s camera spotted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell were checking preparations.
On the other hand, the Associated Press quoted two informed sources as saying that two members of the National Guard in Washington were excluded from the task of securing the inauguration of Joe Biden as President of the United States, after their ties to extremist right-wing groups were proven.
A military official and an intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, stated that the two members of the National Guard had links with militias from right-wing groups, without providing details of the group they serve.
The Associated Press reported that nothing had been found indicating a plot against Biden.
In this context, a spokesman for the US Department of Defense (Pentagon) Jonathan Hoffman said in a press briefing that 12 members of the National Guard were excluded for various reasons, and not for links with extremist groups.
Hoffman explained that the exclusion is a preventive measure, and it concerns two elements that were excluded for exchanging messages that were a source of concern, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) identified 10 other elements for various reasons.
For his part, the Commander of the National Guard, General Daniel Hukanson, said that the investigation into the two elements is underway, and that anyone who is reported for inappropriate behavior will be deported, adding that extremism is unacceptable among the National Guard, which will take the necessary measures to confront it.
Hukanson noted that 25,000 National Guard members had deployed to Washington to help security forces secure the presidential inauguration.
In turn, Acting US Defense Secretary Christopher Miller confirmed that National Guard personnel deployed in Washington to secure the inauguration ceremony are subject to security scrutiny.
For his part, Acting US Attorney General Jeff Rosen said that the authorities will not tolerate anyone who tries to spoil Joe Biden’s inauguration with violence or any other criminal act.
He added that anyone who tried to use violence to spoil the inauguration day would be arrested and tried.
Rosen emphasized that the US Department of Justice, along with law enforcement agencies, is committed to ensuring a safe inauguration.