Kamala Harris is reportedly ‘bothered’ that she hasn’t been able to move into her official Washington DC residence nearly two months after inauguration

Naval Observatory
Number One Observatory Circle is the official residence of the US vice president.

  • Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff have not yet moved into their official Washington DC residence.
  • According to CNN, Harris is “getting frustrated” at the pace of renovations at the home.
  • According to two administration staffers, Harris asked for work to be completed in the kitchen.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

After Vice President Kamala Harris took her oath of office in January, she became the first female, first Black, and first Asian American vice president in US history.

While President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden were quickly able to settle in at the White House on Inauguration Day, Harris and her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, would have to stay in temporary housing at the historic Blair House while the vice president’s residence was undergoing renovations.

Harris and Emhoff are still residing at Blair House, the official residence of White House guests located across from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, according to CNN.

An administration official told CNN that it is “unclear” why the renovations are taking longer than expected, but Harris is reportedly becoming uneasy with the situation, according to several individuals who spoke to the network.

“She is getting frustrated,” another official said of Harris’s current situation of seemingly living out of suitcases more than two months after Inauguration Day.

The official also said that Harris’s desire to move into the residence has become more pronounced as each day goes by.

Number One Observatory Circle, where Harris and Emhoff will eventually live, is a stately Queen Anne-style mansion that dates to 1893 and is located on the grounds of the US Naval Observatory in Northwest Washington.

The Biden administration has not indicated the reasoning for any delays, and Harris did not respond to the CNN report regarding the matter.

According to CNN, the 128-year-old residence has required foundational work over the past few years, along with a myriad of other repairs and updates, including a $3.8 million contract for “plumbing, heating and air-conditioning contractors” that’s still in progress, according to an official US government spending report.

The CNN report indicated that the existing contracts don’t indicate why Harris and Emhoff have been unable to move into the residence.

The network reported that Harris has been seen at the residence, most recently for an hour-long visit several weeks ago.

Read more: Meet the presidential confidants, Delaware’s closely-knit and well-positioned congressional delegation, Joe Biden’s entrusted with cementing his legacy

According to two administration staffers, Harris, who enjoys cooking, asked for the kitchen to be updated.

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Vice President Kamala Harris visits Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff in his office on January 28, 2021.

Elizabeth Haenle, the vice president residence manager and social secretary for former Vice President Dick Cheney, said that it wasn’t uncommon for there to be a few weeks in between residents living at the home.

“From time to time, the Navy will ask the vice president and their respective families to delay moving in so that they have time for maintenance and upgrades that are not easy to perform once the vice president takes up residence,” she told CNN.

After the inauguration, an aide to Harris told the network that the vice president and second gentleman would not move into the Naval Observatory residence that day, saying that repairs needed to conducted “that are more easily conducted with the home unoccupied.”

An administration official told CNN that the residence’s chimneys were being renovated, along with other unspecified updates.

There was no official move-in date announced in January.

While Blair House doesn’t hurt in the luxury department, with its ornate accommodations and a private hair salon, Harris and Emhoff prefer a more relaxed, California-esque vibe.

The residence at the Naval Observatory is much different than the White House, with fewer residence staff and a location further from the city center.

“The White House is office and home to the President so there is that feeling of living above the ‘shop’ at the White House,” Haenle told CNN. “For the vice president and his or her family, the Vice President’s Residence is calm in the midst of a stormy Washington, both politically and logistically. At the end of the day, the vice president can travel a short distance northwest and find respite in a country-like setting.”

Biden, who lived in the home as vice president from 2009 to 2017, praised its amenities on CNN last month.

“You’re … overlooking the rest of the city,” he said of the property. “You can walk out, and there’s a swimming pool. You can ride a bicycle around and never leave the property, and work out.”

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Calls for DC statehood reignited following Capitol insurrection: The fight for the 51st state explained

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A view of a security fence at the base of Capitol Hill during heightened security concerns over possible protests or violence tomorrow March 3, 2021, in Washington, DC.

  • The 700,000 residents of DC have long been denied the representation granted to their fellow Americans.
  • But the chaos of the January 6 siege has led to reinvigorated calls for granting DC statehood.
  • Activists are pushing Democrats to use their advantage to do so, but the Senate poses a challenge.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

On January 6, as pro-Trump rioters broke through police barriers and breached the nation’s Capitol building in Washington DC, the city’s mayor could do little to stop the attack.

Unlike each state’s governor, who serve as de facto commanders of National Guard forces in their domain, DC’s Mayor Muriel Bowser had no power to send in military forces as the siege turned deadly that day.

Instead, Washington, DC’s National Guard unit is commanded by the President of the United States – then Donald Trump, the man who hours earlier, had told the very crowd now storming the Capitol that “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

As the violence escalated, Bowser had to ask the Department of Defense, an executive branch of the federal government acting on behalf of the president, for permission to send in troops, and has since blamed the district’s limitations and her inability to directly deploy the National Guard for the slow and muddled response on January 6.

The riots’ aftermath has served as a stark reminder to the nation of just how little power the 700,000 residents of Washington, DC, actually have, despite living in the nation’s capital.

DC residents themselves, though, hardly need to be reminded of their paradoxical political disadvantages. From the district’s non-voting congressional representative to its shadow senators, Washingtonians have long been denied the full rights of citizenship guaranteed to hundreds of millions of their fellow Americans.

The majority of DC residents have long yearned to join the union – in a 2016 referendum a staggering 86% of DC voters voted in favor of joining the union as the 51st state – but the rest of the country has historically been lukewarm, or even downright averse to the idea.

But the pandemonium of January 6 has led to reinvigorated calls for DC statehood, and a high-profile committee hearing on the matter this week has pushed the issue back into the spotlight. The albeit, narrow Democratic control of both Congress and the Presidency may present the best chance activists have had – or will have again – to add a 51st star to the flag.

From its inception, the city has been embroiled in politics

Washington, DC, was founded in 1790 as the distinguished capital for a new nation. Its location on the Potomac River bordered by Maryland and Virginia was chosen as a compromise, famously made between founding fathers Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson.

At only 68 square miles, the district is geographically small. But its 700,000 residents make it more populous than both Vermont and Wyoming and comparable in population to states like Delaware and Alaska.

Whereas both Vermonters and Wyomingites have two senators and one representative advocating for their interests in Congress, Washingtonians are stuck with one non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives and two “shadow senators,” lawmakers not officially sworn in or seated in the US Senate.

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Supporters for DC Statehood cheer as drivers honk their horns during the morning commute outside the Rayburn Building in Washington, DC on February, 11, 2020.

Their lack of true Senatorial representation means DC residents have no voice in determinations of Supreme Court justices, US Ambassadors, heads of federal agencies, or even leadership for federal courts within the district’s own boundaries.

Washingtonians pay federal taxes, register for the nation’s selective services, and contribute to the country’s economy. Still, they lack the full voting rights, budget control, and representation America grants their fellow citizens.

And it’s only within the last 60 years that the district has obtained some authoritative freedom in governing itself. DC residents have been able to vote for the President of their own country since only 1964, and they elected their mayor for the first time in 1973.

For many, the issue of DC statehood is simple; one that boils down to a catchy, historical slogan: no taxation without representation.

Race plays an equally crucial role in the fight for statehood

The district’s daytime population surges to more than a million due to the barrage of political junkies and academics who commute into DC each day for work. But when evening strikes and the professionals board the metro back to Virginia and Maryland, approximately 700,000 residents remain.

Nearly half of those residents are Black, according to 2019 US Census data.

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Demonstrators protest against racial injustice to mark Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, near the White House in Washington, D.C., the United States, June 19, 2020.

Activists have long argued that the district’s lack of representation contributes to the ongoing disenfranchisement of Black voters in the US.

In 2018, New York Times columnist David Leonhardt calculated that the Senate “gives the average Black American only 75 percent as much representation as the average white American.”

The average Hispanic American, by his accounts, has only 55% the representation as the average white American, fuel for the similar fight for statehood that Puerto Rico is waging.

LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter told the Guardian’s David Smith that DC and Puerto Rico’s outcast status is a “fundamental democratic flaw” that “reeks of hypocrisy”

“At the end of the day, you have states from Utah to Montana to others that have gained statehood early on with less question, with less critique than DC and Puerto Rico,” she told the outlet. “The only reason why it is a debate or even a question is because of who makes up the majority of both of those places.”

If the district was granted statehood, it would be the only plurality-Black state in the union, according to the New Columbia Statehood Commission.

Republican lawmakers oppose the movement, fearful a 51st state would hand Democrats a political advantage

The GOP has long been opposed to the prospect of adding new states to the union and for the most part, have been forthcoming with their reasons why.

In 2020, former President Donald Trump said in an interview that “DC will never be a state.”

“Why? So we can have two more Democratic – Democrat senators and five more congressmen? No thank you. That’ll never happen,” he said. “Why would the Republicans ever do that?”

The former president was almost certainly right in his assessment – Washington’s diverse and liberal population would likely vote Democrats into office, providing two additional votes for the party in the Senate.

Later that year at a press conference, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Republican, said granting DC statehood would be “unconstitutional.”

“This is about expanding the Senate map to accommodate the most radical agenda that I’ve ever seen since I’ve been up here,” Graham told reporters, saying the move would be a “bad deal” for his home state.

But statehood activists and residents argue the district’s political preferences shouldn’t act as a deterrent to fulfilling the people’s rights.

The legislation to grant statehood already exists but passing it will prove difficult

Washington’s non-voting delegate, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, first introduced the Washington, DC, Admission Act in 2019.

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Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., speaks at a rally sponsored by Veterans for D.C. Statehood on Veterans Day at Freedom Plaza on Monday Nov. 11, 2019.

In addition to granting the capital city statehood, the bill would shrink the federal district to a smaller area that encompassed the most important federal buildings, including the White House, Capitol building, and Supreme Court, in a move that supporters of the bill argue would sidestep the issue of constitutionality, leaving a piece of the federal district intact.

Republicans counter that statehood can’t be granted except through a constitutional amendment, an arduous process that requires significant levels of bipartisan and state support.

Norton’s bill would also rename the new state Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, after abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

The historic legislation was passed last summer, by the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives, though the bill was dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Now, the act has been reintroduced in both chambers of the new Congress, but like many of the Democrats’ progressive initiatives, it faces an uphill climb in the 50-50 Senate.

In order to pass, all 50 Democrats would need to vote in favor of the bill and convince 10 Republicans to join them, a feat that is seemingly improbable, if not impossible.

Many statehood activists are hoping Democrats will instead focus their attention first on gutting the filibuster, the Senate rule that requires 60 votes rather than a simple majority of 51 to pass most legislation. Doing so could open the door not only to DC statehood, but a berth of other progressive priorities from student debt forgiveness to an increased minimum wage.

But overturning the filibuster could prove an insurmountable obstacle, as at least two moderate Democratic senators have made clear their opposition to doing so, with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia declaring he would “never” change his mind on the filibuster.

Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, the other moderate Democrat opposed to ousting the filibuster, are also two of the six Senate Democrats who did not cosponsor the statehood bill that passed in the last Congress.

Still, Washingtonians aren’t giving up hope. If there’s ever a time to do it, it’s now, they argue.

In a House Oversight and Reform Committee meeting earlier this week, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser was direct and firm in making the case for DC statehood. She highlighted the racial elements at play and rejected Republicans’ claims that the fight is a power grab by Democrats.

“The truth is, over 220 years we’ve had various experiences – of suffrage for Black men, to all of it being stripped away, to having appointed officials, to the situation where we are now, which is limited home rule,” Bowser said according to The Washington Post. “What we know is that we don’t have representation here in this House. . . . This is anti-democratic, and it’s un-American, and it has to be fixed now.”

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GOP Rep. Jody Hice argued against DC statehood by incorrectly citing a lack of car dealerships

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Rep. Jody Hice (R-Georgia) speaks on the House floor.

  • In citing his opposition to DC statehood, Hice incorrectly said that the city lacks car dealerships.
  • The conservative congressman had long argued that statehood went against the intent of the Framers.
  • The proposed bill, H.R. 51, is likely to pass the House but faces major roadblocks in the Senate.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia is staunchly opposed to statehood for Washington DC, an opinion shared by most congressional Republicans.

During a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Monday to discuss H.R. 51, a Democratic-backed bill that would grant statehood to the District, he incorrectly cited the District’s lack of car dealerships as a rationale against the proposal.

In the past, Hice has largely opposed statehood under his view that it goes against the intention of the Framers, but he expanded on his viewpoint during the hearing.

“DC would be the only state – the only state – without an airport, without a car dealership, without a capital city and without a landfill,” he argued.

Hice was incorrect in his assessment, as the city boasts numerous car dealerships, including a Tesla showroom not far from the Capitol.

Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who represents a congressional district anchored in suburban Washington DC, slammed Hice’s rationale for opposing statehood.

“It was cited that there’s no car dealership in the District of Columbia,” he said. “That’s not a constitutional restriction. It turns out, there is a car dealership in the District of Columbia. At this point, [do] we agree that people in DC should enjoy equal political rights? Of course not, because they’re simply trying to gin up whatever arguments they can think of. These are frivolous arguments.”

After Hice was informed that he was wrong, he walked back his statement, claiming he didn’t know where a dealership in the city was located.

“If there’s a car dealership in DC, I apologize for being wrong,” he said. “I have no idea where it is.”

Read more: Meet the presidential confidants, Delaware’s closely-knit and well-positioned congressional delegation, Joe Biden’s entrusted with cementing his legacy

The House bill is likely to pass the Democratic-controlled House, but it will face major roadblocks in the Senate. While Democrats narrowly control the upper chamber due to Vice President Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote, Republicans are overwhelmingly opposed to the bill and prevent it from reaching the 60-vote threshold to cut off debate.

There are 215 cosponsors of H.R. 51 in the House and 41 cosponsors of the Senate bill, and all are Democrats.

Earlier in the day, Hice announced that he would challenge Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican who former President Donald Trump repeatedly excoriated for validating the integrity of President Joe Biden’s Georgia victory in the 2020 presidential election.

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Man charged with assaulting cop during Capitol riot, stole police badge and buried it in backyard

Mike Fanone Badge
The badge which Thomas Siddick stole from Officer

  • Thomas Siddick of Buffalo, New York, was arrested on Friday on five different charges.
  • He was caught assaulting police officer Mike Fanone on the bodycam he was wearing.
  • Although initially denying he stole the badge, he later retrieved it and handed it over to the FBI.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A man charged with assaulting a cop during the Capitol riot has admitted that he buried the officer’s police badge in his backyard.

Thomas Siddick of Buffalo, New York, was arrested on Friday on five different charges including assaulting, resisting or impeding officers and taking a thing of value by force and violence or intimidation.

Sibick was caught assaulting Officer Mike Fanone of Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) on video captured by the bodycam he was wearing, according to the criminal complaint.

He took Fanone’s police badge and radio while he was being beaten and tased by a group of rioters who had pulled him away from the police line, causing him to have a concussion and be hospitalized.

Sibick told the FBI that he had heard someone say “We got one! We got one! Kill him with his own gun!,” but he was just trying to help.

He is not accused of beating or tasing Fanone, 40, a father of four daughters who said he yelled to the crowd that he had children to “try to appeal to someone’s humanity,” according to CBS News.

He said some rioters surrounded him to help him leave and he spent a day and a half in hospital following the attack. Through WUSA9, Fanone told them: “Thank you, but f— you for being there.”

Sibbick was first questioned on January 27, at which point he denied even being in Washington DC on the night of the insurrection.

This is despite him posting images of himself on Instagram holding a US Capitol Police shield and attempting to enter the building.

He then had a second interview in early February whereby he maintained that he had not been involved in the attack on Fanone.

However, later the month, Siddick said he wanted to “recant” his initial statement and admitted he took the badge and radio.

Although he originally said he thrown them in a trash can in a hotel dumspter on DC’s Constitution Avenue out of fear of being arrested, he later told an FBI agent that he “wanted to do the right thing.”

He said he “had buried the badge in his backyard,” purchased a metal detector to find it, dug it up, and wanted to return it.

A federal magistrate judge in New York ordered Thomas Sibick to be released, the Huffington Post noted. However, the government filed an emergency appeal on Friday asking the DC judge to order him back into custody on account of being charged with a violent crime.

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A billionaire cognitive scientist pissed off his DC neighbors with Transformers in his yard, and he explains it’s about curing Parkinson’s with a computer chip

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Increased traffic surrounding model Transformer robots has caused drama on a secluded street in the historic Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC.

  • Newton Howard is a renowned cognitive scientist and billionaire who irked his DC neighbors.
  • He put up Transformer robots in his yard, drawing the ire of some Georgetown residents.
  • Howard spoke with Insider about how the robots stand for curing Parkinson’s with a brain chip.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A viral neighborhood spat in the nation’s capital over Transformers that drew scores of tourists to a secluded Georgetown street is actually not about irking the rich and powerful, according to the man behind the robots.

Instead, it’s about a billionaire cognitive scientist’s efforts to “restore human dignity” to those suffering from diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s by perfecting a “brain-computer interface,” Georgetown professor Newton Howard told Insider.

Howard, 45, has expertise in modeling the human brain with computer code, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence. He moved into his Georgetown home in mid-2020 after running the Oxford Computational Neuroscience Laboratory in the UK.

Before that, he was the director of MIT’s Mind Machine Project, where he made significant innovations in modeling the activity of the human brain. He has also worked with the US military on similar initiatives. In addition to his litany of patents, Howard holds several venture capital funds and private investments in companies valued at over $20 billion, according to his business page.

Howard spoke with Insider on Monday about the Transformers dustup, which he said has reached an amicable solution and, hopefully, has drawn some attention to his latest research: a potentially life altering technology for Parkinson’s disease.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Insider’s Jake Lahut: Before we get into the neighborhood Transformers issue, I was wondering if you could walk me through your professional background and how you ended up in DC?

Newton Howard: I’m American, but I studied in England and in France. I was modeling the human mind – more predictably, a specific apparatus, known to us as intent – and intent is something that is difficult to compute around. Most of the variables are known, and I was solving a problem, friendly fire, for the military – how orders are communicated, how they are carried and aggregated and, misinterpreted sometimes, leading to fratricide. So that was my first PhD while I was in the military, specifically the intelligence community.

Later on, after I did my active/reserve time, I had a TBI, a traumatic brain injury, so I decided to come back to the states, went to MIT, created the Mind Machine Project, and decided to study medicine. So I was studying medicine at Oxford while I was running the project and creating multiple labs globally, and them get them all to collaborate over the creation of a brain-computer interface that has the same functions and features as DBS, deep brain stimulations – alleviating neurodegenerative disorders, and bring augmentation.

JL: So where did you acquire these Transformer things, and how did the whole thing in Georgetown come about?

Howard: So I have a lot of robots in my house. Some of them are moving, functioning, talking robots, some of them are Transformers that are made of recycled motorcycle material. So I met the artist and commissioned the creation of a number of them. And I put them wherever I work, wherever I live.

Number one, they save the environment, because a lot of the motorcycle and car parts, they just get wasted. The city is in discussion with me now to actually place 16 of them in various areas around DC, and that, interestingly, is probably a good reaction to the news and what happened.

JL: If someone is just like walking down the street and they see these Transformers, and they’re curious, and let’s say they ring your doorbell to ask what it’s all about, what would you tell them?

Howard: And that did happen actually, several times, and people dropped notes in my mailbox. They represent the coalition of men and machine, working in harmony but as distinct entities. We create robotic and prosthetic arms and all of these things to compensate for damage. That does not make us robots. There are two distinct structures and creations, you know? Or at least that’s what I believe, while there are others who believe robots will take over the world.

JL: Interesting, and you think this is opposed to the Elon Musk view, because of that notion of separation between man and machine?

Howard: Yeah, I mean, in his and many other notions – which I don’t want to mention by name, because it would be very problematic and I was told not to [laughs] – because we are in some discussions about some IP that he decided to use that is mine.

JL: Alright, we can leave it at that!

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Lauren Boebert, who once expressed support for QAnon, accused Democrats of being ‘obsessed with conspiracy theories’

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Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) attends the Conservative Political Action Conference held in the Hyatt Regency on February 27, 2021 in Orlando, Florida.

  • GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert told Fox News that the Democrats are “obsessed with conspiracy theories.”
  • Boebert was complaining about the heightened security measures in the Capitol this week.
  • The congresswoman once said she hopes the QAnon conspiracy theory was real but denied being a follower.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Freshman GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, who has previously expressed support for QAnon, accused Democratic of being “obsessed with conspiracy theories.” 

Boebert was speaking to Fox News on Saturday about the ongoing security measures that have been implemented around the Capitol following the insurrection on January 6, which led to five people’s deaths.

This week, measures were ramped up even more amid fears of potential violence from QAnon followers on March 4 – the day they believed would be Former President Trump’s second inauguration. 

“No one on the outside can get into the Capitol, it is only staffers and members of Congress who are allowed at the people’s house,” Boebert said, according to Newsweek. “At our nation’s Capital. This is complete bonkers that we are keeping people out of the US Capitol. There’s clearly not a threat. There was nothing that happened on March 4.”

“The Democrats are obsessed with conspiracy theories and they won’t let them go,” she continued. “We have a border fence around the People’s house, with miles of razor wire. And Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi wants to keep it up.”

Watch the moment below:

 

Her comments come amid reports that around 4,900 National Guard troops are set to stay in the DC until March 12 because of threats of far-right violence, energized by the QAnon conspiracy theorists.

While a handful of QAnon followers traveled across the country this week in the hope of watching Trump return to power, not much ended up transpiring and DC was largely quiet.

But with swaths of America’s far-right refusing to accept Biden as legitimate president and a hardcore of extremists determined to provoke a violent insurrection, it’s a threat security officials believe is unlikely to recede any time soon. 

Boebert herself has previously expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory but denied that she is a follower of it, the Guardian reported.

“Everything that I’ve heard of Q, I hope that this is real because it only means that America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values,” she said last year, according to the Guardian.

QAnon began in 2017 as an online myth that claimed that the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would soon be arrested, based on an unfounded allegation that she was involved in child sex trafficking. 

The GOP congresswoman has previously also made headlines for being a vocal and provocative defender of gun rights, including the release of an ad where she said she would carry her handgun on the Capitol grounds. She also owns her own restaurant called Shooter’s Grill, where customers can openly carry guns.

Last month, Boebert was criticized by her Democratic colleagues for displaying a gun “shrine” as her Zoom background.

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A handful of QAnon followers flew all the way from California to DC in hopes of watching Trump’s March 4 ‘inauguration’

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From left, Karyn Carson, John Carson, Lois Houser and Matthew Giannini, supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump, stand near the security perimeter outside of the U.S. Capitol Building, hoping to see evidence of an inauguration of former President Trump in Washington, on March 4, 2021.

  • Some QAnon followers flew from California to DC in the hopes of watching Trump’s return to power.
  • QAnon devotees believed March 4 marked the day Trump would be sworn in for a second term in office.
  • One couple said they’d taken time off work to fly to DC and had been waiting for something to transpire.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A small group of QAnon followers flew all the way from California to Washington DC on Thursday in the hopes of watching Former President Donald Trump’s inauguration that never materialized.

March 4 had become a highly anticipated date for followers of the QAnon conspiracy theorists, who believed it was the date Trump would be sworn in for a second term in office. Until 1933, March 4 was the date of the presidential inauguration.

The Capitol was on high alert on Thursday and throughout the week amid fears that more far-right violence would occur following the January 6 insurrection, which resulted in the deaths of five people.

But while thousands of National Security Guards patrolled Capitol grounds and the House of Representatives canceled their session, only a small number of Trump supporters actually showed up. 

Among them was a group of QAnon followers, who had flown all the way from California to watch Trump’s return to power. Couple Karyn and John Carson had taken time off work to make the trip and spent the week in the city waiting for something to happen.

“Every day that we’re here, we’ll probably come out around noon and see if anything transpires,” Karyn, 52, told Reuters. “If it doesn’t happen, we’ll obviously be sad ’cause it didn’t happen while we were here, but we believe that it will happen. It just hasn’t happened yet.”

The couple believes the 2020 election – won by President Joe Biden – was fraudulent and that the military will restore Trump to power by the end of March.

However, the Carsons told Reuters they condoned the deadly attack on the Capitol in January and that they had no intention of using violence to restore Trump to power. 

“It may seem foolish to some people that we came all this way to see something that may or may not happen, but we don’t care,” Karyn told Reuters.

 

Earlier in the week, security forces had warned of a potential attack by militants to mark Thursday’s date and had put the entire area on high alert. 

But the day passed without major incident. 

But with swaths of America’s far-right refusing to accept Biden as legitimate president and a hardcore of extremists determined to provoke a violent insurrection, it’s a threat security officials believe is unlikely to recede any time soon. 

The belief that Trump will be sworn in on March 4 is rooted in theories promoted by the obscure sovereign citizen movement. 

With the passing of March 4, experts predict that QAnon will continue to invent new dates to look forward to in an effort to perpetuate mind games.

“Reality doesn’t really matter,” Nick Backovic, a contributing editor at the fact-checking website Logically, told Insider this week. “Whether QAnon can survive another great disappointment, there’s no question – it can.”

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Photos show intense security around the US Capitol ahead of a QAnon insurrection that nobody showed up for

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National Guard keep watch on the Capitol, Thursday, March 4, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

  • There was enhanced security presence in Washington DC on March 4, only weeks after the Capitol riot. 
  • Intelligence reports had indicated far-right extremists were plotting violence and protests. 
  • QAnon conspiracy theorists believed that Donald Trump would be inaugurated on Thursday. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Thousands of National Guard and Capitol Police patrolled the streets of Washington DC Thursday ahead of an anticipated insurrection by far-right supporters of Donald Trump that never materialized.

Earlier in the week, US law enforcment and security agencies warned they had received intelligence that a far-right group planned to breach the Capitol. The Capitol Police announced that it was taking steps to “enhance our security posture” on days including March 4. 

March 4 was when some QAnon conspiracy theory supporters believed that Donald Trump would be inaugurated for a second term and his “deep state” enemies vanquished.

The anticipated threat placed Capitol security services on high alert, with the atmosphere still tense in the wake of the Capitol’s breach by Trump supporters on January 6. 

In the wake of the riot, the Capitol has been encircled with a razor-wire fence. On Thursday National Guard deployed in DC patrolled its perimeter to deter further violence. 

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National Guard walk near the Capitol, Thursday, March 4, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

On Constitution Avenue, the main thoroughfare leading pat the Capitol, the National Guard set up checkpoints. 

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Members of the National Guard walk on the empty Constitution Avenue near the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 2021.

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National Guard keep watch on the Capitol, Thursday, March 4, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

The usually bustling Capitol Hill was quiet, with lawmakers and their staff advised to stay away from the area for the day.

With paranoia rife in far-right forums ahead of March 4 and claims that the planned protests were a ruse by security services spreading, extremists and Trump supporters also decided to stay away. A masked man was questioned by the Secret Service near the White House. 

DC security
A man wearing a “Guy Fawkes” mask is confronted by members of the US Secret Service, near the White House in Washington, DC, on March 4, 2021.

National Guard patrolled the Capitol building itself. On steps of the Capitol, Rep. Al Green of Texas took a break as the heavily armed troops patrolled nearby. 

DC security
Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, is seen on the House steps of the Capitol as members of the National Guard walk by on Thursday, March 4, 2021.

In Congress’s halls, National Guard was stationed to ensure no breaches of the Capitol complex from any source. 

DC Security
Members of the National Guard look at a model of Capitol Hill in the Capitol Building’s crypt on March 4, 2021, in Washington, DC.

DC security
Michigan National Guard troops conduct a promotion ceremony on the East Front of the Capitol on Thursday, March 4, 2021.

The day passed without major incident. But with swaths of America’s far-right refusing to accept Biden as legitimate president and a hardcore of extremists determined to provoke a violent insurrection, it’s a threat security officials believe is unlikely to recede any time soon. 

DC security
The U.S. Capitol Building, which saw boosted security, Thursday, after officials warned of an attack plot by extremists on March 4, 2021

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The best US destinations to travel to in March, plus where to stay and socially distant activities to enjoy

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Sun Valley, Indiana

  • Traveling in March can mean big savings for those comfortable with hitting the road right now. 
  • With safety in mind, these spots have fantastic outdoor activities and socially distant dining options. 
  • We found top US vacations for March, from mountains for the end of ski season to warm getaways.

With the ongoing pandemic, most travelers are still turning to domestic destinations, road trips, and locations that offer easy social distancing and access to the outdoors. As we approach the one-year mark of many of the early shutdowns, and with spring breaks for kids quickly approaching, many travelers and families are seeking safe vacation options for a change of scenery.

Below, we highlight some of the best places to travel in March, whether it’s to take advantage of savings, catch the tail end of ski season, or warm up with some sun. All of our choices are domestic options that offer plenty to do outdoors, which we detail below, along with socially distant dining options and top hotels to stay at.

However, you may also want to consider booking an Airbnb, since most are offering contactless check-in and experts and the CDC have noted private vacation rentals are often a safer option than hotels due to limiting contact with others.

It’s also worth noting that traveling at all during this time comes with inherent risks, and every traveler needs to evaluate these at a personal level for themselves and their loved ones. We always recommend following guidelines from the CDC, wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing hands frequently. 

That said, if you do decide to travel, March proves itself as an especially great time to get in on deals, especially in destinations where the month is considered shoulder season. In popular mountain towns, where prime ski season conditions with warmer days on the slopes are a possibility, many rates are below their January and February peak. Plus, there’s plenty of savings to be found in coastal retreats and sun-filled destinations.

Across the US, these are some of the best places to travel in March, including top hotels to stay in for each destination.

Sun Valley, Idaho

Sun Valley, Indiana

Already bought your EPIC ski pass this season? You’re in luck, as Sun Valley Resort, which is celebrating its 85th season, won’t require reservations here if you have one, making this the ultimate destination for that last-minute ski trip. Those with Epic passes can also save 20% on lodging at Sun Valley Resort through the end of the 2021 ski season.

If you’re not into downhill skiing, Sun Valley also has impressive cross-country skiing, which you can take on solo or with a guide from Sawtooth Mountain Guides. Starting from the snow-dusted Galena Lodge, you can access the North Valley Trail System for snowshoeing and over 25 kilometers of packed trails that are right for every experience level.

And if you’re wondering if skiing is safe right now, the good news is that experts say the answer is largely yes, as long as proper precautions are taken.

Other highlights in Sun Valley include Sun Valley Lodge’s outdoor ice rink, a postcard-worthy scene with snowy mountain peaks in the backdrop, as well as nighttime stargazing at Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, the only recognized International Dark Sky Reserve in the US.

For those who are seeking some urban glamour and shopping, head downtown to unique storefronts. Visit Earl’s Authentic Clothing for quality men’s woven shirts and denim, Gilman Contemporary Gallery for art and exhibitions of established and up-and-coming artists, Independent Goods for hand-crafted pieces, and Silver Creek Outfitters for gear and mountain-inspired decor. 

Where to stay in Sun Valley

Limelight Hotel Ketchum near Sun Valley, ID

The Sun Valley Lodge is somewhat of a cult classic. Dubbed America’s first ski resort, its charming history that dates back to 1936 is well preserved, even if today the rooms are comfortable, contemporary, and alpine-inspired. Rates start from $297. 

Trendy and with plenty of perks, the Limelight Hotel in Ketchum offers guests dedicated shuttles to Sun Valley Ski Resort as well as around town, has outdoor hot tubs and fire pits, and is filled with outdoor spaces. It’s also pet-friendly, so you can bring along your furry friends. Rates start from $227.

Find more great US ski hotels

Newport, Rhode Island

Thames Street   Newport, Rhode Island

Newport is most alive in the summer, but the late winter and early spring season in this seaside town should not be overlooked. The many historic hotels have deeply discounted rates at this time, and there are fewer crowds to deal with. Pair that with the fact that this New England destination is within driving distance to many major Northeastern metropolitan areas, and it’s hard to resist.

With temps in the mid-40s this time of year, you can bundle up and spend an ideal day outdoors by simply window shopping (or actually shopping) Thames St, which is brimming with decor, clothing, gift, and specialty shops, like Rhode Island Reef, a stylish CBD store. 

A walk along Cliff Walk which backs up to the glittering Gilded Age mansions this town is famous for is also an enjoyable way to spend time, and really a must for any Newport itinerary. You can watch the Atlantic Ocean waves crash from the upper loggia at The Breakers, the grandiose display of Vanderbilt prosperity that is just one of the many homes open for tours in town. Its massive size at over 125,000 square feet makes it pretty easy to spread out even though you’ll be indoors most of the time. However, a walk around the estate’s grounds proves just as memorable if that’s more comfortable.  

Two of Newport’s best-kept secrets include the Newport Car Museum, a fantastic collection of pristine vehicles, and Aardvark Antiques, where estate and collectible treasures of every variety can be found. If you’re not shopping indoors at this time, they have plenty of outdoor and garden pieces to peruse, too. 

When you’ve worked up an appetite, the private Snowfish igloos at Gurney’s Newport will make you feel like you’re having lunch outside in the summertime, especially on a sunnier day. Drivable from Newport, Ocean House in Westerly, Rhode Island also has an incredible fondue village eating option with private gondolas for those diners that appreciate a good theme. 

Where to stay in Newport

castle hill inn newport rhode island

If you’re looking to have that hotel experience in the most socially distanced of ways, consider booking a beach cottage at Castle Hill Inn. Detached from the main inn, you’ll have a private hideaway with a comfy bed and sitting area to unwind and many of the cottages feature whirlpool tubs or cozy fireplaces to keep you warm.

The main draw, though, is the panoramic view of Castle Hill Inn’s private beach, sand dunes and coastline, not to mention the fancy homes that make up Newport’s famed Ocean Avenue drive. It can all be seen from the private deck of your cottage, whether there’s snow or a sunbather on the sand. Rooms start from $575 per night. 

Discover more of the best Newport hotels and Rhode Island Airbnbs

 

Orlando, Florida

The Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Show

Not only is March a great time to visit Orlando according to Priceline (which is reporting that the cost of visiting is down 31.76% during this time), there are some exciting activities you won’t want to miss. The Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Show begins on March 3, with plenty of outdoor kitchens serving food directly from the garden, plus beautiful topiary displays and those popular sculptures of your family’s favorite Disney characters.

While there is an obvious risk to visiting a theme park at this time, the Orlando parks have strict new COVID-19 protocols in place, with social distancing enforced and capacities extremely reduced. This means a more enjoyable experience for visitors, too, with wait times at rides and attractions much shorter than pre-pandemic times. 

Beyond the parks, you can also enjoy the pleasurable March climate at one of the city’s many other outdoor attractions, which include picking oranges at Showcase of Citrus, riding 200 acres of ATV trails at Revolution Off Road, and exploring charming and oft-overlooked Winter Park by an open-air boat tour across three tranquil lakes.

The city has always had plenty of al fresco dining options, and many of the restaurants at Disney Springs and Universal’s CityWalk have or recently adopted their outdoor dining offerings. Pro tip: To avoid crowds, look into restaurants outside the parks, including The Osprey, a Baldwin Park eatery focused on seasonal ingredients with an attractive open kitchen and bar.

While you can’t travel to Japan at the moment, you can head to Kabooki Sushi in Sand Lake, just a few minutes from Universal’s gates, for grade-A quality sushi dishes. The Stubborn Mule is also a popular option for a delicious weekend brunch or American fare that will leave you wanting more. 

Where to stay in Orlando

Caribe Royale Orlando hotel

The quiet, comfortable boutique Alfond Inn would be our top choice this March. The hotel serves guests breakfast in a beautiful courtyard, complete with chirping birds and the sound of a soft fountain, and has a fantastic outdoor rooftop pool. Midweek rates at the end of March can be found for as low as $212 per night

Orlando, of course, is jam-packed with hotels for any personality, and there are a few running discounts during the month of March. The Rosen Plaza Hotel is offering rates starting at $89 per night through March 14; meanwhile, the Caribe Royale has a buy two-nights, get one free Winter Escape package that is valid through April 30.

Find more of the best Orlando hotels, Disney World resorts, and Orlando Airbnbs

 

New York, New York

Central Park Mall  - New York, NY

Seeing “the city” in its most innovative and resilient form, as it rehabs itself and starts to attract tourists again, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and your support of its businesses will go a long way. 

Recently opened in New York and accepting visitors with 75% reduced capacity is Edge, where it’s wise to book ahead to experience this stunning outdoor observation deck with panoramic skyline views. Just around the corner, you can also snap photos in front of The Vessel, despite the attraction being closed to explore at the moment.

With fewer crowds than normal, you can also be the first to set your eyes on the recently renovated Moynihan Station, especially if you decide to arrive by train. The modern, light, and bright new commuter hall is currently attracting architecture buffs as it attempts to restore some of Penn Station’s former glory. 

Tolerable winter conditions in March mean you should pack a warm coat so you can explore Central Park, which, if you’re lucky, may get a picturesque dusting of snow this time of year. It’s also where you’ll spot New Yorkers of all kinds, getting some much-needed exercise in socially distanced ways.

While indoor dining has just reopened in New York, the hospitality industry there has been no stranger to shutdowns and, therefore, figuring out innovative ways to serve outdoor diners. Some of the best right now include Scarpetta‘s dreamy, private dining chalets; Sola Pasta Bar’s private cottages filled with gorgeous Floratorium silk flowers and small firefly lamps; and Crown Shy‘s individual yurts. Double Chicken Please, a quirky Lower East Side bar that opened during the pandemic, is also serving quirky hot dogs and drinks from a classic frankfurter cart.

Where to stay in New York

the high line hotel new york

With average daily hotel rates in the city under $150 in March, according to Priceline, the once-cost prohibitive metropolis is within better reach than ever. We found rates from $90 to $191 for mid-month weekend dates at Gild Hall, Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, and Nomo Soho. Even posher, trendier hotel players including The High Line Hotel, The Ludlow, and The Knickerbocker Hotel can be secured for under $250 per night.

Visitors looking for a little more privacy and less interaction in New York will want to browse the current deals on Airbnb, which include this attractive studio with rotating artwork and furnishings that has birds-eye views.

Discover more of the best New York City hotels

 

Washington, DC

washington dc cherry blossoms

Whether or not you’ve visited DC before, you haven’t seen it in its glory until you’ve experienced the cherry blossoms while they’re in bloom. Be warned though, this is technically high season in DC, and even during the pandemic, hotels might be busy, especially mid-month and afterward. According to STR, a hotel market data company, average daily rates for hotels are technically down 20 to 30% in DC depending on the week, but you should still expect crowds around the pretty, pink trees that line the Tidal Basin when the city is most abuzz.

Pro tip: Even with social distancing in place, The Tidal Basin is usually the busiest spot to see the cherry blossoms, but there are also picture-perfect scenes with fewer crowds in East Potomac Park which extends to Hains Point.

In addition to flower-gazing, there are other outdoor activities to enjoy, like hopping over to the fabulous gardens at the Smithsonian. The museum itself is currently closed, which means it’s the perfect time to enjoy the attractive but often overlooked outdoor spaces here (free of charge) that feature seasonal plants, a pollination garden, a World War II vegetable garden, and more.

Discerning foodies will also want to check out the city’s food scene, which is finally receiving the accolades it deserves. Head to The Wharf, which is within walking distance from the cherry blossoms, where you can enjoy numerous shops and restaurants, many with outdoor seating. Delicious dining options here include the Vietnamese Moon Rabbit and old-fashioned-style (and highly Instagrammable) treats from the Southwest Soda Pop Shop.

Where to stay in DC

Rosewood Hotel Washington, D.C. exterior

The recently-opened Rosewood Washington, DC is the city’s finest choice for accommodations right now. Featuring 55 rooms, including 12 suites and six townhouses, the plush, contemporary furnishings throughout are ideal for stretching out and relaxing. Rooms start at $250 per night, a good value for this luxury offering, and feature something unique in the city: stunning, nature-centric views.

Discover more of the best DC hotels

Park City, Utah

Main Street - Park City, Utah

A quintessential US destination for skiers, there’s something in this mountain-adjacent town for everyone. The slopes are the obvious draw here, but you can snowmobile in the majestic Uintas, hop on a dog sled or even take a horse-drawn sleigh ride if you please. For those who prefer shopping and a more apres experience, the shops and restaurants that pack Main Street and all their small Western town charm can easily fill an afternoon. 

Those comfortable with beauty and spa services at the moment should consider all the R&R opportunities available to them in Park City as well. Whether you need a massage or not, the heated outdoor infinity pool at the Stein Eriksen Residences’s Silver Aspen Spa is worth checking out. 

In order to offer guests a safer, outdoor dining experience this season, the St. Regis Deer Valley has set up yurts that seat up to eight. Each of the yurts are based on three skiing disciplines—slalom, moguls and aerials—and feature constantly-rotating menu items for lunch, après and dinner seatings. For a small town, Park City is also filled to the brim with extraordinary restaurants and bars. Treat yourself to award-winning Italian fare at the Cena Restaurant, or head to Yuki Yama Sushi for a world-class experience.

Where to stay in Park City

Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley - Park City, Utah

No hotel is more synonymous with abundance and luxury than the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley. In addition to their divine on-site restaurant, The 7880 Club, this splurge-worthy hotel offers exquisite on-mountain dining experiences. Room types range from standard deluxe rooms to expansive and immaculately-designed homes available through Stein Eriksen Residences, which are ideal for families or those looking to spend an extended stay slopeside. Rates start from $696.

Meanwhile, even in a resort town like Park City, weekend rates as low as $236 can be found in the month of March at Treasure Mountain Inn, which is notable for its close-to-the-action location at the top of Main Street. 

Find more of the best ski resorts in Utah

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Trump’s DC hotel is hiking prices for March 4 – the day QAnon followers think the former president will be sworn in

trump international hotel dc
The north entrance of the Trump International in Washington, DC.

  • QAnon followers believe that Trump will be sworn in on March 4, 2021.
  • This belief is rooted in a conspiracy theory that all presidents post-1871 are illegitimate.
  • Trump’s DC hotel is the only one in the area to have hiked prices for March 4, Forbes reported.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

QAnon’s most dedicated followers still believe that former President Donald Trump, who lost the 2020 presidential election, is yet to be sworn in.

March 4, 2021 is a day they have marked in their diaries, insisting that is the date when Trump will be inaugurated in Washington, DC, and, ultimately, return to power.

Coincidentally, Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC is hiking up the prices of suites around that period. The hotel, just blocks away from the White House, has almost tripled the rates for some rooms on the nights of March 3 and 4, according to Forbes.

Read more: 7 yuuge reasons Donald Trump isn’t going away.

The sovereign citizen movement

The reason why QAnon supporters place so much importance on March 4 is rooted in the bizarre beliefs of the ‘sovereign citizen movement.’

It believes that Americans are not subject to a variety of federal laws. The basis for this is that a law, enacted in 1871, secretly turned the US into a corporation rather than a nation.

Consequently, they view every president inaugurated since as illegitimate. Members of the sovereign citizen movement believe that former President Ulysses S. Grant was the last legitimate president.

Grant, like other presidents in the 19th century, was inaugurated on March 4. The sovereign citizen movement believes that the republic will be restored and Trump will become the US’s 19th president on March 4, 2021.

This fantasy has gained traction with the hardcore of QAnon adherents attempting to make sense of President Joe Biden’s recent inauguration, according to Vice.

March 4 appears to have become a marketing opportunity for Trump’s DC hotel.

The normal rate for a deluxe king in March would usually run between $476 and $596, according to Forbes. This year, the same type of room is priced has almost tripled. On March 3 and 4, the magazine reported that the room is going for $1,331 per night.

The price hike is exclusive to the Trump International Hotel, according to Zach Everson in his 1100 Pennsylvania newsletter.

Other luxury hotels in the White House’s vicinity appear to have standard rates for the nights of March 3 and 4, Everson said.

Trump International Hotel did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment for this story.

This would not be the first time that a Trump hotel had raised its rates to coincide with a political event.

On January 5 and 6, Trump International raised its rates significantly. The cheapest room available was $8,000 on the night of the deadly insurrection, according to Forbes’ reporter Suzanne Rowan Kelleher.

On January 7, the hotel’s managing director shared that the Capitol siege’s week was one of “record-breaking” numbers.

Read the original article on Business Insider