WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Security is tightening in Washington D.C. ahead of the 59th Presidential Inauguration next week.
National Guard Troops from across the country are being deployed, and on Thursday members of the Florida National Guard were briefed before hitting the road for the nation's capital.
"What's slightly different is we're sending twice as many as we normally do in request from D.C. National Guard," said Lieutenant Colonel Adam Curry, who spoke with WPTV from the road just north of the Georgia border.
LTC Curry said nearly 600 members of the 2nd Battalion 124th Infantry Regiment are heading north, and they are assigned to what's called the Task Force Capitol.
"Task Force Capitol is just providing soldiers in and around the area to make sure that citizens of the United States know where they're supposed to go," Curry said.
After President Trump was impeached for a second time and the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last week, there is a 24-hour rotation of guardsmen and women on Pennsylvania Avenue. By Saturday, 20,000 members of the National Guard will be in DC ahead of Inauguration Day, which is four times as large as the number of troops currently stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
"I for one would much rather see it be done inside for security purposes in the Rotunda or in the hall of the House," said Rep. James Clyburn, D-South Carolina.
With ongoing threats of violence, some members of Congress are calling for President-Elect Joe Biden to take the oath indoors, but the Florida National Guard says it is prepared and ready to assist with the peaceful transition of power.
"This battalion is proud to serve this great nation and the state of Florida and we're honored to be chosen to go up there," said Curry, who added his battalion is prepared to stay up in DC for as long as necessary.