Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are only a few days left in our critical Mid-Year Campaign and we truly might not make it without your help.
Please join us. If you rely on independent media, support Common Dreams today. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

The White House is seen on June 5, 2020 through several layers of security fencing and barricades that were erected amid demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

The White House is seen on June 5, 2020 through several layers of security fencing and barricades that were erected amid demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Turning White House Into a 'Fortress'? Federal Agents to Install 'Non-Scalable' Fence Just Before Election Day

"Does this feel like preparation for a peaceful transfer of power?"

Kenny Stancil

Federal authorities are reportedly planning to erect a "non-scalable" fence around the entire perimeter of the White House on Monday as law enforcement officials, including 250 national guardsmen put on standby, prepare for possible protests in the aftermath of Election Day. 

NBC News White House Correspondent Geoff Bennett was the first to report on the latest White House fence construction plans. CNN confirmed the news, citing an unnamed source "with knowledge of the matter." 

"The White House on lockdown," Bennett tweeted on Sunday night, just hours after it was reported that President Donald Trump is planning to prematurely claim victory if he has a lead Tuesday night, as the Republican Party bolsters its attempt to further delegitimize mail-in ballots counted after November 3. 

According to CNN, the "non-scalable" fencing being set up this week is the same type that was put into place during this summer's protests against racism and police violence that erupted in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis officers in May. 

The source said that the fortification will "encompass the Ellipse and Lafayette Square. It will go down 15th Street to Constitution Avenue and then over to 17th Street. The fence will then run up to H Street and across by Lafayette, and then come down to 15th Street."

A federal agent indicated that the fence will surround the White House complex and Lafayette and Ellipse Squares, as marked here. (Source: Google Street View via Business Insider)

Many observers—regardless of the outcomes—anticipate post-election turbulence this year. "The extra layer of security," CNN reported, "marks the most high-profile example to date of authorities preparing for unrest following this year's election, especially if there is no clear winner come November 4."

Expectations of and preparations for potential political violence are unusually high this year, driven in large part by Trump's dangerous encouragement of armed "poll watchers" as well as other cases—such as the harassment of a Biden campaign bus by reckless, pro-Trump motorists this weekend—in which the president has incited and/or condoned violence and intimidation.

"Four years after pledging to make America great," political columnist Frida Ghitis noted on social media, "Trump has to turn the White House into a fortress to protect himself from the people."

"Does this feel like preparation for a peaceful transfer of power?" asked author Michael Smith. 

As Common Dreams reported last week, a coalition of progressive advocacy groups is planning nearly 400 rallies across the nation to protest any effort by Trump to falsely claim victory or refuse to accept the election results.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'Lunacy': Democrats Risk Running Out of Time to Confirm Federal Judges

"Democrats aren't filling open seats right now in federal district courts because, for unfathomable reasons, they are letting red state senators block nominees," said one critic.

Julia Conley ·


Citing Death of Roe, Alabama Urges Judge to Reinstate Trans Care Ban

GOP officials are already weaponizing the Supreme Court's abortion ruling to attack other rights they argue are not "deeply rooted in our nation's history and tradition."

Kenny Stancil ·


Flint Residents 'Disgusted' After Court Throws Out Indictments of Top Officials

"It has become increasingly clear that the judicial system is not a viable option for a poor majority Black community facing injustice," said Flint Rising.

Jessica Corbett ·


Sanders, Fetterman Urge Buttigieg to Fine Airlines Over Flight Cancellations

"The American people are sick of airlines ripping them off, canceling flights at the last minute, and delaying flights for hours on end," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·


In Blow to Voting Rights, SCOTUS Saves Louisiana's Racially Rigged Electoral Map

"Black Louisianans deserve fair representation. The fight for racial justice and equality is far from over," vowed one civil rights group.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo