If you had a ticket for Tuesday’s inauguration and couldn’t get in, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies would like to apologize.
The Washington Post reported today that nearly 4,000 ticketholders, most in the blue or purple sections, were shut out of the inauguration by police officers who said the sections were full, despite visitors lining up at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. At one point, the line for one of the gates stretched into the Interstate 395 tunnel underneath the Reflecting Pool. Ticketholders reported that officers weren’t receiving communications from others regarding the situation and crowds began to panic as the ceremony started.
In the statement, the committee said the sheer number of visitors was overwhelming:
“Many of the problems appear to have been due to the unprecedented crowds, and a huge flow of unticketed people toward the U.S. Capitol and into the 3rd Street tunnel from the National Mall, after it had reached capacity very early that morning and was closed. We realize how important this inauguration was to so many people and the difficulties they endured to get here, so once again we deeply apologize to those guests who were not admitted.”
The statement said the committee and involved law enforcement agencies will investigate. It also states the number of tickets distributed was based on previous inaugurations plus analysis of how many people could safety stand in the ticketed area.