The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden is two days away, and Washington, D.C. looks dramatically different, with more than 20,000 members of the National Guard on hand. 12 days after the violence at the U.S. Capitol, Republican South Dakota Sen. John Thune says he feels safe as a lawmaker in Washington.
“We take more precautions these days as you move back and forth between buildings and offices and whatnot, but yeah I feel safe, and I’m hopeful that we will be able to have a good inaugural event this week in a way that reflects the freedoms that we enjoy in this country but done in a way that keeps people involved safe,” Thune said.
He and his wife will be there when President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris take their oaths of office.
“We’ll be on the platform and, for that official ceremony, and that’s something now I’ve, I guess I’ve seen quite a few of them through the years, but they are all something that to me is really exceptional,” Thune said.
This year’s ceremony already looks different. Security is heavy in Washington D.C. right now.
“I think it’s really sad, in a way, that that’s what’s happening right now in terms of all the security and the amount of manpower that we have surrounding the Capitol and fencing and everything else that that’s kind of a commentary or a reflection on the country at the moment,” Thune said.
He’s hopeful for something different in the future.
“Those are the people’s buildings, and I hope that there will be a day when there would be the kind of access that we’ve had in the past, and obviously COVID has affected all that as well,” Thune said.