The rioters who stormed the Capitol heightened not only political tensions but have triggered a security effort Washington has never seen.
For those who have left South Florida to visit the Capitol city to take part in its history, famous buildings, and monuments — it’s a much different place now.
Since the riot Wednesday, no matter the hour -- in the darkness and in the daylight -- the nation’s Capitol has been quickly turned into a place looking much like Fort Knox. Many federal buildings now sit behind metal barricades erected in the hours after the riot.
CAPITOL RIOT AFTERMATH
“We came by just to kind of see what was going on to see how it has transformed and I think it’s such a shame, and hopefully at some point, we will get our country back,” said Jenny Allison, who lives nearby in Arlington, Virginia.
Allison told us what’s transpired is painful. The high fences have gone up around not just around the Capitol. There’s no more just walking up the Supreme Court steps to peer into the highest court in the land.
"It is heartbreaking and I hope this doesn’t impact how people are able to enjoy the actual Capitol building and the capital city going forward," she said. "When you think about it, this could change how people are able to experience buildings that really belong to all of us—right?”
Yes, there’s always substantial security and a valid worry about terror threats, but what happened when rioters overran Capitol police after President Trump’s rally took the potential danger to another level.
The high fence around the White House now extends several blocks and there are high walls that prevent people from even seeing through. From the street, the Department of Treasury and the top of the White House can be seen in the distance with the flag at half staff to honor officer Brian Sicknick, who died after the riot. Police say he was struck with a fire extinguisher.
"It is a little bit of an eyesore at the beginning, but you kind of get used to it," D.C. resident Travis Howell said. "But I think forever—it’s DC—and everybody is always going to come and visit and see the sights.”
On the streets of downtown Washington, the men and women of the D.C. National Guard are mixing in with the general public.
“It’s very good. It’s more safety now for them doing that," said Earl Bonner, who grew up in D.C. "They wasn’t prepared for all of this stuff that happened this week that just passed.”