JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The moment Joe Biden and Kamala Harris became projected winners of the 2020 Presidential Election, Pinedale Elementary Assistant Principal Inger Pride-Gooch and her daughter, Skyler, immediately booked flights to attend the inauguration.
“We were really excited about seeing our first African-American Vice President, Kamala Harris. My daughter is a first-year freshman at FAMU, and she was looking forward to going to D.C. and coming back and telling her friends,” Pride-Gooch said. “As well as myself, I was looking forward to coming back and talking to some of our students about it.”
After seeing a violent mob storm the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday, Pride-Gooch canceled the flights.
“With all the civil unrest, we just decided not to. So we’ll have to watch it virtually,” Pride-Gooch said.
The mayor of Washington has encouraged people to be like Pride-Gooch and not come to D.C. the week of the inauguration.
Major airlines, including American, Delta, Southwest and United, are also taking the potential for violence seriously and have increased security, banning passengers from checking guns. This includes flights to and from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Ronald Reagan International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.
Only credentialed law enforcement and active-duty military traveling on Department of Defense orders are exempt.
Airbnb has also canceled all reservations in the D.C. area during the week of the inauguration.
“I just hope that everything can work out. I know that this is a difficult time in America, and I’m just praying for some solidarity and unity,” Pride-Gooch said.
Pride-Gooch said watching the inauguration with her daughter virtually will still be special, knowing history will be made.
Congressman Al Lawson sent News4Jax a statement, also encouraging Americans not to travel to D.C.
“Safety has to be our top priority, and we are encouraging Americans not to travel to Washington, D.C. next week for the inauguration. While the ceremony will look different this year, this is a safe, responsible alternative that will ensure all Americans can celebrate this historic inauguration of President-elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris. There is no public ticketing for the official swearing-in ceremony and no large crowds will be permitted. Additionally, with last week’s unprecedented insurrection against the United States Capitol, we must do everything in our power to ensure there will be no more violence or lives lost.”