Anyone looking to quickly check the tenor of American politics in the waning days of Donald Trump's presidency would only need to look over viral images of National Guard members sleeping on the floors of the Capitol building.
The photos and videos show the members protecting the recently attacked halls of Congress, sleeping in hallways and on floors with their weapons nearby. The National Guard is watching the building at all hours after authorities were caught flat-footed by a rally-turned-riot last week. Members will maintain a presence within the building and throughout the city of Washington, D.C. as all eyes turn toward the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. There is also fear that the president's supporters might attempt another breach of the building as representatives deliberate impeaching Trump (a second time) for his role in the riots.
The FBI sent a bulletin to law enforcement officers around the country earlier this week, warning of armed protests of Biden's swearing-in in all 50 states as well as the capital. As many as 15,000 National Guard members will be deployed in D.C. on the day of Biden's inauguration, to protect government officials and buildings.
Though President Trump himself has done little to tone down the emotions of his die-hard supporters, members of his administration have condemned any further violence. Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen warned of severe consequences for anyone trying to interrupt a peaceful transfer of power.
"There will be no excuse for violence, vandalism or any other form of lawlessness,” Rosen said in a video.