WASHINGTON - In the wake of a violent mob of pro-Trump rioters storming the U.S. Capitol Wednesday as Congress counted electoral votes, the United States Secret Service said they are anticipating and are prepared for "all possible contingencies" to ensure that the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris remains a safe and secure event.
"The inauguration of the President of the United States is a foundational element of our democracy," the agency wrote in a statement posted Thursday on social media. "The safety and security of all those participating in the 59th Presidential Inauguration is of the utmost importance."
The statement continues: "As the lead agency for all National Special Security Event (NSSE) security operations, the U.S. Secret Service is responsible for designing and implementing an appropriate operational security plan, which is carried out in concert with partners charged with specific areas of management and response leading up to and throughout the event."
The statement came one day after the siege of the nation’s Capitol by a violent mob of supporters of President Donald Trump.
The mob forced their way into the Capitol building, breaking through barriers and attacking law enforcement, resulting in the shooting death of a woman. Dozens were arrested, according to police.
Protesters were urged by Trump during a rally near the White House earlier Wednesday to head to Capitol Hill, where lawmakers were scheduled to confirm Biden's presidential victory. After making their way to the Capitol, the mob broke through police barriers, smashed windows and paraded through the halls, sending lawmakers into hiding.
The protesters ransacked the building, taking over the House and Senate chambers and waving Trump, American and Confederate flags. Outside, they scaled the walls and balconies.
Despite law enforcement quelling the pro-Trump riot after nearly four hours of unrest, the violence left an uneasy feeling among lawmakers who have criticized the Capitol Police’s handling of the situation.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, under pressure from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders, was forced to resign. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asked for and received the resignation of the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate, Michael Stenger, Thursday. Paul Irving, the longtime Sergeant at Arms of the House, also resigned.
"There was a failure of leadership at the top," Pelosi said.
Trump, a day after the violent mob of his supporters breached the Capitol, promised in a tweeted video an "orderly transition" on Jan. 20, when Biden is to be inaugurated.
The U.S. Capitol had been closed to the public since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has now killed more than 360,000 people in the U.S. But normally, the building is open to the public and lawmakers pride themselves on their availability to their constituents.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.