A “non-scalable” fence is expected to be placed around the White House just in time for Election Day, anonymous sources told CNN and NBC News—a potential response to law enforcement fears of civil unrest and violence over the election results.
Similar barriers were placed around the White House complex in June, during Black Lives Matter protests in Washington, D.C. But the restored White House fencing, which CNN said will be erected by “federal authorities,” is just the latest sign that law enforcement officials are anxious about a wave of post-election demonstrations.
In October, the local D.C. police chief, Peter Newsham, told lawmakers that it’s “widely believed that there will be civil unrest after the November election regardless of who wins,” according to the Washington Post. Earlier this year, his department shelled out about $130,000 on tear gas and other “less-lethal” munitions to prepare for any such demonstrations, according to WUSA, a local CBS affiliate.
Last week, CNN reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was also putting its agents on “standby,” while Customs and Border Protection was training its personnel in the lead-up to Election Day. Additionally, NBC News’ Geoff Bennett reported Sunday that “250 National Guardsmen have been put on standby, reporting to Metro Police officials.”
Even George Washington University told its students they should stockpile food and medications “as you normally would for a hurricane or a snowstorm,” according to Inside Higher Ed.
Trump reportedly plans to hold a large election night party in the East Room of the White House, with hundreds of guests potentially in attendance, according to the New York Times.
Separately, the Texas Army National Guard is prepared to deploy to the state’s largest cities if protests break out after Nov. 3. And police departments across the country are readying their officers for unrest or any disruption at the polls.
Even businesses are boarding up ahead of Election Day.
There’s a concern that cities will erupt in protests if President Donald Trump declares victory before all the votes are tallied, or otherwise undermines the credibility of the results.
The president reportedly told confidantes he’s prepared to claim a win if he appears ahead on Election Day, according to an Axios report citing anonymous sources, although Trump denied it was true. Still, Trump said Sunday that his team is prepared to immediately go “in with our lawyers” in states like Pennsylvania after the polls close.