Trump campaign alleges Secret Service made a ‘critical flaw’ in RNC convention planning

The Trump campaign has recently sent a letter to U.S. Secret Service Director Kim Cheatle, urging her to address a “critical flaw” in the security perimeter for the upcoming Republican National Convention. The campaign argues that the safety of attendees is potentially endangered due to the planned presence of protesters in the vicinity.

The convention, which is scheduled to take place from July 15-18 in Milwaukee, will be held within a designated perimeter that extends to a nearby park called Pere Marquette.

Currently, pedestrians are required to pass through Pere Marquette, which is owned by the city, in order to access the facilities. A reliable source familiar with the security plan has expressed concern that the park, being a natural gathering spot, poses a potential safety risk for attendees if it is left unsecured.

GOP congressional lawmakers, including Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Ron Johnson, and Sen. Rick Scott, have made multiple attempts to meet with Secret Service and RNC leaders to discuss safety and security at the convention. As protesters make plans to demonstrate, the lawmakers are concerned about the need for effective measures. ABC News obtained a letter which highlights these concerns.

The Trump campaign has made a specific request to the Secret Service. They are asking for a one-block buffer zone to be created between the RNC facilities and the designated protest areas.

According to Todd Steggerda, counsel to the Republican National Committee, the Secret Service has been disregarding their concerns and multiple attempts to reach out regarding the need to adjust the security perimeter.

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In a letter dated April 26, Steggerda expressed the RNC’s frustration with the local USSS team’s lack of response to their proposal. The RNC had put forth a reasonable suggestion to address safety concerns by making a slight adjustment to the Security Perimeter. Specifically, they proposed expanding a small section of the Perimeter by approximately one block to the East, encompassing the Park. Despite the modest nature of this alteration, the local USSS team has yet to provide a satisfactory response.

According to a statement from Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesperson for the Secret Service, the host city, not the Secret Service, is responsible for designating the demonstration zones for the convention.

The agency has been actively engaging in discussions with Michael Whatley, Chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), RNC staff members in Milwaukee, and U.S. Senate members regarding the security plan for the convention. It is crucial to emphasize that we prioritize the security planning for these events, taking it extremely seriously.

“Our approach to security is rooted in prioritizing public safety. It revolves around key factors such as protective intelligence, risk evaluation, and threat assessments. The primary objective is to maintain the utmost level of security while causing minimal disruption to the public,” explained Guglielmi.

Guglielmi added that publicly sharing security information, as demonstrated in this letter, diminishes our capacity to uphold the security plan’s integrity and ensure the safety of the convention, its attendees, and the general public.

According to Jeff Fleming, the director of communications for the city of Milwaukee, they have not found any significant issues and are working closely with various agencies to ensure robust security measures.

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According to the letter, a member of the Secret Service allegedly stated that it was “illegal” to modify the security perimeter. However, the Trump campaign strongly asserts that the agency holds the ultimate authority and discretion to make adjustments.

According to the letter, the reconfiguration of the perimeter aims to strike a harmonious balance between security and public safety. The Trump campaign argues that this change will enable attendees, journalists, and community members to traverse the area without any concerns for their well-being. Additionally, it ensures that their first-amendment rights are upheld, including the right to engage in peaceful protests and assemblies within close proximity to the convention. These proposed adjustments guarantee that these rights will continue to be respected.

The RNC is calling for action as political protests against the war in Gaza gain momentum and spread throughout the nation, particularly on college campuses. These protests have led to numerous arrests.

Over 50,000 attendees and a large number of spectators are anticipated to be present at the RNC, along with a significant turnout of protesters.

As the convention rapidly approaches, the Trump campaign is feeling a sense of urgency.

In a letter addressing the urgent matter, Steggerda emphasizes the need for immediate action to rectify the flaw in the design of the Security Perimeter. With the Convention approaching in less than two months and the USSS finalizing the Plan, it is crucial to address this unacceptable issue promptly.

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