Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Republicans demand Secret Service chief personally take action to move protests farther from the convention

By 37ci3 May23,2024

According to a letter obtained by NBC News, the Republican National Committee is asking Secret Service Director Kim Cheatle to personally get involved in moving a planned protest zone away from the site of the party’s convention in Milwaukee this summer.

The letterCheatle was sent Thursday by Todd Steggerda, an RNC consultant. increasing demands Rezoning planned by GOP officials. Those officials believe that the current plans will force delegates and others attending the convention to be in close contact with protesters on their way to the convention site.

“With less than two months until the Convention and even less until the USSS finalizes its Plan, it is imperative that you take personal and urgent steps to correct this unacceptable flaw in the design of the Security Perimeter,” Steggerda wrote.

“The criticality of the situation requires you to immediately give your team the appropriate mandate and authority to adjust the Security Perimeter to mitigate these risks,” he said.

A Secret Service spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about the letter.

A detailed map of the Secret Service’s security perimeter — the zone around the convention that is off-limits to the general public and requires credentials and screening for entry — has not been made public. But people familiar with the plans say Pere Market Park, designated as the protest zone, is on its edge. This was reported by NBC News on Thursday.

Then citing security concerns the man set himself on fire outside former President Donald Trump’s New York court and suspicious package referred to a national committee this week, GOP officials said they want the Secret Service to expand its security perimeter because current plans would force congressmen to stand by protesters as they enter and exit Fiserv Forum, the convention site. confrontations. The GOP’s four-day nominating convention is July 15-18.

“Failure to act now to prevent these unnecessary and certain risks will endanger tens of thousands of Convention attendees and force them inexcusably close to the currently planned First Amendment Zone,” Steggerda wrote in a letter Thursday. “Inevitably, this Plan will exacerbate rather than defuse or diffuse tensions and conflict, creating an increased and unstoppable risk of violence.” This rapidly deteriorating security environment and dire consequences for the public underscore the need for your personal leadership and action to address this challenge.”

RNC and Secret Service officials were scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss several topics related to the convention.

In his letter, Steggerda proposed expanding the security perimeter one block east to “encapsulate” Pere Marquette Park within the perimeter and designating Zeidler Union Square, about three-quarters of a mile south of Fiserv Forum, as the protest zone. Pere Marquette Park is one block south and one block east of the Fiserv Forum.

Pere Marquette Park was also the designated protest zone for the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which was significantly reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Zeidler Park was considered before Pere Marquette Park was selected in 2020.

Steggarda wrote that “this small expansion of a small portion of the eastern portion of the Security Perimeter” would address a “critical flaw in the current design” that poses a risk of confrontation, while “protecting the public’s freedom of peaceful assembly and demonstration.” It’s only three to four blocks from the convention.

NBC News reported earlier Thursday that the Secret Service security perimeter is based on a threat assessment and they prefer not to occupy more territory since it is necessary. Further inaction by the Secret Service will leave the decision to Milwaukee officials.

A spokeswoman for Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, a Democrat, said officials are “very open to hearing all concerns” from all parties, but some members of the Milwaukee Common Council said they feel the currently planned protest zone is adequate.

RNC officials wrote to Cheatle last month about their concerns, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., followed up with his own letter this month to warn that the initial plans “could create an area of ​​likely and avoidable conflict between protesters and conventioneers and delegates.” between.

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By 37ci3

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