WASHINGTON (AP) – Elected President Joe Biden is no longer taking an Amtrak train to Washington for his inauguration due to security concerns, a person informed of the decision told the Associated Press on Wednesday.
The president-elect’s decision reflects growing concerns about potential threats in the Capitol and across the United States in preparation for Biden’s January 20 inauguration.
Security in Washington has increased significantly in preparation for the inauguration following the violent uprising at the US Capitol last week by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump, and the FBI warned over the weekend of plans for armed protests in all 50 state capitals and in Washington, DC, in the days leading up to the event.
The person who was briefed on Biden̵
The move to relinquish the 90-minute train ride from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, to Washington was probably not easy for the president-elect. The city’s preference for riding the train during his 36-year Senate career was such a central part of his public persona that he drove the Amtrak home on his last day as vice president, and he used a train ride through Ohio and Pennsylvania during the presidential campaign as a part of an attempt to appeal to workers.
Biden became known for riding the train from the very first days of the Senate, when he made a point of returning home almost every night to help raise his young sons after his wife and young daughter died in a car accident in 1972. His embrace of Amtrak – and the friends he made among train leaders and staff on a regular basis – was shown in a short film broadcast during the Democratic National Conference last August.
The train ride is not the only safety-related development around the inauguration.
On Wednesday, Biden received a briefing from FBI officials, the Secret Service and his national security team about the possibility of further violence in the coming days.
“In the week since the attack on Congress by a mob that included domestic terrorists and violent extremists, the nation has continued to learn more about the threat to our democracy and the potential for further violence in the coming days, both in National Capital. Region and in cities across the country, ”according to a statement from the Biden transition team. “This is a challenge that the president-elect and his team are taking incredibly seriously.”
Across Washington, but especially around the Capitol, the National Mall, and some nearby federal buildings, security has increased significantly, with non-scalable walls and metal gates erected, streets closed and a new contingent of National Guard troops camped at the Capitol.