A security guard was fired after sharing an elevator ride with President Obama, according to reports this week.
Obama was on the elevator with an armed security guard, Kenneth Tate, who was fired about a week after the president visited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters. Tate was working as a private security guard for the agency.
Tate told the New York Times that his firing “was unjust and has been a nightmare.” Tate said he was assigned to accompany the president as he was visiting the CDC.
Other reports said that Tate was a convicted felon, but his employer, the Professional Security Corporation, said that wasn’t true. He was arrested on assault and robbery charges but was never convicted of a crime.
The Times also corroborates the company as saying that he was never convicted of felonies.
Tate said that he attempted to take a photo on his cellphone as a memento. But Secret Service agents told him he got too close, and they spoke to his bosses about the situation.
Tate added, “From the reports, I was some stranger that entered the elevator. I mean, I was appointed.”
Neither the CDC or the Secret Service issued a chronology of what happened when Obama visited the agency. A spokesperson with the Secret Service told the Times an investigation was currently ongoing.
But an official told the Times Tate’s description was inaccurate.
Tate said that he holstered his pistol in his suit jacket and the presidential motorcade arrived. On the elevator, he spoke with the president.
“He acknowledged me, said, ‘How you are doing?’ He said, ‘What’s your name?’ I told him my name, and he extended his hand, shook my hand, and I said it’s a pleasure to meet him. And I proceeded to escort him upstairs,” Tate said.
After Obama got in the limo, he attempted to take a picture.
“I was upset. I’m nervous because I’m like, I don’t understand what’s going on,” Tate said, adding that a week later, he was fied.
No explanation was given for the firing.