United States Capitol Building
Credit: Darrow Montgomery

Exactly two weeks after the insurrection, President-elect Joe Biden will take the oath of office on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. A key Congressional committee says the swearing-in ceremony will take place as scheduled, on Jan. 20, and at its traditional location, the west front of the Capitol. “We are confident in our security partners who have spent months planning and preparing for the inauguration,” a senior Biden inauguration official tells the Post

Right-wing extremists, emboldened by Donald Trump, who falsely contests the election results, say they’ll return to D.C. for the inauguration. “Round 2 on January 20th. This time no mercy. I don’t even care about keeping Trump in power. I care about war,” says someone on the platform TheDonald.win. They called Wednesday’s insurrectionists, who are responsible for six deaths, “heroes.” 

District officials are preparing for their return. In a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Mayor Muriel Bowser requested that the inauguration be declared a pre-emergency disaster under the Stafford Act, which will enhance and expedite federal resources. She also asked the feds to cancel and deny permits for all demonstrations between Jan. 11 and Jan. 24. The inauguration is considered to be a National Special Security Event, which enables officials to create a security perimeter around the Capitol. Bowser requested that the perimeter and dates of the event be extended from Jan. 19 through 21 to Jan. 11 through 24. 

At a Monday morning press conference, Bowser asked people not to visit the District but to participate in inauguration events virtually. She stopped short of saying the inauguration should be closed to the public. She says her priority is to protect the city from another attack. She’s requested daily intelligence and threat briefings from the Federal Bureau of Investigation beginning Monday. Residents are being advised to text “INAUG2021” to 888-777 to get public safety and transportation updates specific to the inauguration.  

D.C. residents are also readying for the return of extremists. The hashtag #DontRentDC is trending on Twitter, as residents ask short-term rental hosts to keep their properties vacant this weekend through the end of inaugural activities. Richard Bianco, a D.C. attorney who primarily represents small landlords, is among those advising local hosts against booking.  

“Don’t make a decision that is high risk, low reward,” says Bianco. “You’re potentially exchanging getting a couple of hundred bucks for your Airbnb over the course of a few days during the inauguration. And you’re potentially putting your neighbors at risk, your neighborhood at risk, by renting to people who intend to do harm.”

He says that Airbnb or Vrbo hosts have very little recourse should a guest they book be a member of the hate group the Proud Boys or any other right-wing extremist group and overstay their reservation. “There’s just no access to the courts,” Bianco says. “There’s really nothing you can do at that point to remove them.” In D.C., landlords cannot evict tenants without engaging in the appropriate legal processes. The ban on so-called self-help evictions doesn’t just apply to residential rentals, Bianco says, something he knows firsthand via hosts who’ve requested his legal assistance when guests have refused to leave their property during the public health emergency. Notices to vacate are illegal under the eviction moratorium, and the Metropolitan Police Department considers landlord-tenant disputes to be a civil matter.  

Given that there’s potential liability for housing providers for being selective about who they rent or host—for example, the District prohibits discrimination based on political affiliation—Bianco advises hosts to avoid booking this weekend altogether, thereby avoiding vetting guests. “Then you don’t have to worry about getting into these sorts of fine lines and legal issues that could cause more trouble than it’s worth,” he says. “For the money that you’re going to make, it’s simply not worth it.” 

Residents are still dealing with the aftermath of the insurrection, and District residents continue to be acutely impacted by Wednesday’s attack. Over the weekend, local veterans group helped to clean up the streets after the rioting. At the press conference, Mayor Bowser said she’ll likely extend the “holiday pause,” which includes a ban on indoor dining, from Jan. 15 to Jan. 24. She is interested in having the restrictions coincide with the public safety emergency declaration. She’ll announce her decision Tuesday. 

—Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Starting today, D.C. residents 65 and older can book their COVID-19 vaccination appointment. Register online at vaccinate.dc.gov or call (855) 363-0333. Meanwhile, the daily case rate is the highest it’s ever been during the pandemic. To see today’s coronavirus cases and more information, visit our coronavirus dashboard. [EOM]
  • After responding to the Capitol insurrection, Capitol Police officer Howard Liebengood died by suicide. He is the second Capitol Police officer to die in less than a week. [Fox 5
  • The Post identifies 100 insurrectionists. They are local lawmakers, lawyers, and construction workers, and traveled to D.C. from all over the country. [Post]
  • Still reeling from the insurrection? Here’s how to cope with the ensuing trauma, according to mental health experts. [Washingtonian]
  • Federal aid likely spares the worst Metro cuts, including suspending weekend service. [DCist]

By Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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  • Councilmember Robert White asks Racine if Trump could face criminal charges for inciting a riot. [DCist]

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