Inaugural planners’ biggest concern: Protesters

WASHINGTON — Presidential candidate Donald Trump was anything but conventional — now military planners for the 58th presidential inauguration are preparing for a day that might not include traditional pomp and circumstance.

“Generally speaking, the inauguration is taking shape as it has in the past, although subject to change, as you know,” said Brig. Gen. George Degnon, the deputy commanding general for the inauguration.

In a news conference Wednesday, Degnon was asked whether military planners anticipated Trump putting his nontraditional signature on an event full of tradition.

“We’re still negotiating with the Presidential Inaugural Committee, as far as the specifics for the parade,” said Degnon. “But, with the city laid out the way it is, the number of people we’re bringing in to the city, there’s only so many ways you can make this thing happen.”

Maj. Gen. Bradley Becker, commander of the joint task force providing military ceremonial support for the inaugural events, was asked about the biggest threat to a smoothly run operation.

“At this point the biggest concern is the number of potential protesters, and how that impacts the inauguration, especially the parade itself,” Becker said.

Roped areas will be set up along the parade route for protesters, according to Baker, and Brigadier Gen. William Walker, of the D.C. National Guard.

It is unclear whether the new president will walk a portion of the parade route,” Becker said.

“Clearly the Secret Service has talked about it — previous presidents have done it — but at this point we just don’t know what the president-elect plans to do during the parade,” Becker said.

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