Senator Joe Manchin Says U.S. Will Be Prepared for Potential Threats Before Inauguration

Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said Friday that the United States will be prepared to ward off any potential threats or violent attacks ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

Speaking on PBS's Firing Line with Margaret Hoover, Manchin said that it will be a "big mistake" for anyone to plan an attack following the violent insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol last week.

The FBI is warning of plans for armed protests at the Capitol & state capitols in the lead up to the inauguration.

Are we prepared?

"That will be the biggest mistake they ever make," Sen. Manchin says. "We will be prepared. I can assure you."@Sen_JoeManchin @PBS @ThirteenWNET

— Firing Line with Margaret Hoover (@FiringLineShow) January 14, 2021

"That will be the biggest mistake they ever make. If they do that, that will be a big mistake from that standpoint, because we will be prepared, I can assure you," he said.

"I've been speaking to the different officials around that have responsibility, and you'll never see that happen what you saw happen Wednesday [January 6]."

At least five people, including one police officer, were killed after a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6. The rioters broke through windows and barricades, clashed with police, occupied congressional offices, and delayed the election certification for Biden.

Federal prosecutors have since said that rioters intended to "capture and assassinate" elected officials during the siege, and that many continue to pose a threat to public safety.

Since then, there have been significant fears that additional attacks will take place in the days before Biden in sworn into office this Wednesday.

Capitol Hill riot
Senator Joe Manchin said Friday that the U.S. is prepared to stop any potential threats or violence ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration. Here, pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum/Getty

In one widely shared message online, a QAnon supporter with a significant following described how "patriots" would make their way to the capital the day before Biden's inauguration.

"Many of us will return on January 19, 2021, carrying our weapons in support of our nation's resolve, to which the world will never forget," wrote user ColonelTPerez.

"[We] will come in numbers that no standing army and police can match. However the police are NOT our enemy, unless they choose to be."

Another well-known supporter of the radical QAnon conspiracy theory, Dave Hays, who is also known as Praying Medic, suggested that Trump supporters should be personally responsible for removing Biden if the military does not intervene.

"If you think millions of Americans (many of whom are former military) will passively allow their nation to be destroyed, you're delusional. If the military does not intervene and if Biden is inaugurated on the 20th, we could be headed for a second revolution," he wrote online.

Most threats and calls for violence were posted on the social media site Parler that had been primarily used by conservatives and far-right extremists before it was taken offline by its web host, Amazon Web Services (AWS).

AWS said Parler violated its agreements for failing to moderate content that included "dozens of examples of content that encouraged violence, including calls to hang public officials, kill Black and Jewish people, and shoot police officers in the head."

Parler has also been removed from iOS and Android stores, and its CEO, John Matze, said Monday that it "may never" come back online.

Biden's inauguration has been designated a "national special security event," and it will likely be protected by more National Guard troops than Trump's ceremony in 2017 and former President Barack Obama's in 2013 combined.

"I think you can expect to see somewhere, upwards beyond 20,000 members of the National Guard that will be here in the footprint of the District of Columbia," Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said this past Wednesday.

Newsweek reached out to Manchin for additional comment, but did not hear back in time for publication.