‘Just Asking For Trouble’: Republicans Sound Alarm On RNC Security, Secret Service Turns Deaf Ear

by ROBERT MCGREEVY at dailycaller.com

Republican lawmakers have approached the U.S. Secret Service with concerns about security issues at July’s Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but Secret Service has so far been unwilling to compromise, sources told the Daily Caller.

“We have identified a critical flaw with the Security Perimeter that creates an elevated and untenable safety risk to the attending public,” counsel to the Republican National Committee Todd R. Steggerda wrote to Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle in April.

The current Secret Service plan designates Père Marquette Park as the protected First Amendment zone for demonstrations, but Republicans say that’s far too close to the convention spaces, which include Fiserv Forum (where the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks play) and UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.

“The City’s current plan would pack demonstrators into a one-block park — a park bordered by the two streets that thousands of peaceful attendees will be using to access the Convention site, as set out in the Secret Service proposal. This will force thousands of peaceful attendees and demonstrators, who may otherwise choose to avoid or limit direct, proximate engagement with one another, to be in extremely close, consistent, and unavoidable proximity,” Steggerda wrote in the letter obtained by the Daily Caller.

The convention expects to draw over 50,000 attendees to the city to watch the President Trump accept the GOP’s nomination for president.

“Having the protest zone this close to the entrances, uncontrolled, this close to the convention center,  you’re just asking for trouble.” Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson told the Caller. 

Johnson relayed his concerns to Secret Service, as did Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“I am deeply concerned about reports that the security perimeter around the Republican Convention site in Milwaukee may be creating a likely — and preventable — area of conflict between protesters and convention attendees and delegates,” McConnell wrote in a May 10 letter to Cheatle, MSN reported.

McConnell’s staff and Scott have apparently both met with Cheatle in recent days to persuade her to alter the Secret Service plan, Johnson told the Caller.

Senator Johnson also expressed frustration about the Secret Service’s refusal to address GOP concerns.

“I appreciate what they do and I don’t doubt their sincerity, but [Cheatle] is talking about the fact that they base their assessment on certain criteria and they made their assessment and now they can’t change it. So she had the authority to use criteria they’ve used in the past to develop a security plan. She had the authority to draw up the plan but now she claims she doesn’t have the authority to change it. I think that’s crazy,” Johnson said.

“My experience with bureaucracy is they kind of dig their heels in. So I’m hoping she and the administration … whoever she reports to … in the end they report to the President, and my guess is if President Biden was aware of this, maybe that’s the next step here,” he continued. “We need to raise his level, and get him to intervene and say, ‘Let’s make sure that we reduce the risk to the full extent we can.’”

“Again we’ve raised the issue. I hope it wouldn’t happen, but if something were to happen, people have been put on notice,” Johnson added. “This isn’t like Jan. 6 where there weren’t warnings and people weren’t raising issues.”