The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

From a median on Pennsylvania Avenue, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser says she’ll welcome visitors soon — but not now

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser meets a group of Virginia National Guard troops near the Capitol last week. (Khalid Naji-Allah/Executive Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser)

Downtown D.C. has become so difficult to navigate that Mayor Muriel E. Bowser held her last pre-inauguration news conference Tuesday standing on a median in the middle of a busy road, many blocks from the secure perimeter around the U.S. Capitol and much of downtown.

As beeping buses unloaded passengers, and garbage trucks rattled by on Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Bowser (D) made one last pitch for Americans to avoid coming to her city for President-elect Joe Biden’s swearing-in on Wednesday. The mayor also asked people to consider visiting D.C. later, once the inauguration is over.

She also acknowledged that the heightened attention on the city after the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol by a rioting mob has been a plus for the D.C. statehood movement, one of her top causes.

“Today, more people than ever before have joined in our fight for D.C. statehood,” she said, noting that Biden is a proponent.

On a phone call recently, Bowser recalled, the incoming president said something to her along the lines of: “Kid, I’ve always been there with you. I’ve always supported statehood.”

Could D.C. become a state? Explaining the hurdles to statehood.

Bowser said that although she has urged others to watch Biden’s inauguration from home, she will be a guest at the Capitol as Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris take their oaths of office.

Officials at the news conference acknowledged the inconvenience to D.C. residents caused by the many unprecedented security measures in place. Acting police chief Robert Contee III said he had intervened with the U.S. Secret Service to lessen one burden: Rather than closing three bridges in the District entirely, Contee said, the Secret Service agreed to keep one lane open on the Sousa, 11th Street and South Capitol Street bridges so residents can still commute within the city limits.

Asked about the possibility of would-be insurrectionists wreaking havoc in residential neighborhoods, Contee said that he has a “contingency plan” for every police district in the city and that D.C. officers will be working 12-hour shifts to ensure that all neighborhoods are covered.

Residents passing through the busy Eastern Market and Barracks Row shopping districts stopped to listen to the unusual outdoor briefing. Some whooped and cheered when Bowser mentioned statehood. One stepped to the microphone to ask a question about police officers’ mental and physical health.

After it ended, a third-grader started a lengthy conversation with the mayor. Bending down to talk to the masked girl, who sported braids and a Christmas sweater, Bowser asked about one of her mayoral priorities for the next month: “Are you ready to go back to school?”

No, the girl answered, she does not want to return to class in person.

When Trump and others were silent after the Capitol breach, Bowser stepped up

How the District and its teachers failed to reopen public schools

The Jan. 6 insurrection

The report: The Jan. 6 committee released its final report, marking the culmination of an 18-month investigation into the violent insurrection. Read The Post’s analysis about the committee’s new findings and conclusions.

The final hearing: The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol held its final public meeting where members referred four criminal charges against former president Donald Trump and others to the Justice Department. Here’s what the criminal referrals mean.

The riot: On Jan. 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. Five people died on that day or in the immediate aftermath, and 140 police officers were assaulted.

Inside the siege: During the rampage, rioters came perilously close to penetrating the inner sanctums of the building while lawmakers were still there, including former vice president Mike Pence. The Washington Post examined text messages, photos and videos to create a video timeline of what happened on Jan. 6. Here’s what we know about what Trump did on Jan. 6.

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