RNC Accuses Secret Service of Failing to Address Milwaukee Convention Security Concerns

Committee’s ‘grave concerns about the unacceptable risk to public safety remain unaddressed,’ RNC counsel Todd Steggerda wrote.
RNC Accuses Secret Service of Failing to Address Milwaukee Convention Security Concerns
A Secret Service agent stationed outside the funeral of Ivana Trump in New York City, on July 20, 2022. (Julia Nikhinson/AP Photo)
Katabella Roberts
5/24/2024
Updated:
5/24/2024
0:00

The Republican National Committee (RNC) has accused the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) of failing to address security issues ahead of the party’s convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this summer where planned protests are set to take place.

In a letter sent to Secret Service director Kimberly Cheatle on Thursday, RNC counsel Todd Steggerda raised concerns over what he said was a “rapidly deteriorating” security climate at the July convention.

The RNC counsel again called on officials to move a designated protest area, near the convention’s security perimeter around the Fiserv Forum, just one block over.

Despite the RNC’s “good faith efforts” over the last four weeks to work with the Secret Service to resolve the “critical flaw with the Security Perimeter” at the convention, the committee’s “grave concerns about the unacceptable risk to public safety remain unaddressed,” Mr. Steggerda wrote.

“Rather than dissipating, the overall security climate has worsened significantly over the past month of the USSS’s inaction,” he continued. “Your failure to act now to prevent these unnecessary and certain risks will imperil tens of thousands of Convention attendees, inexcusably forcing them into close proximity to the currently planned First Amendment Zone.”

The RNC’s counsel noted that the current designated protest area at the convention, set to take place between July 15-18 in Milwaukee, will “heighten rather than obviate or diffuse tensions and confrontation, creating an increased and untenable risk of violence.”

Moving it one block over, he said, will “balance the multiple concrete, specific, and well-founded national security and public safety risks” and “ensure the rights of peaceful protest and assembly within sight and sound of the convention.”

“With less than two months before the Convention and even less time before the USSS finalizes the plan, it is imperative you take personal and immediate steps to fix this unacceptable flaw in the design of the Security Perimeter,” Mr. Steggerda wrote.

“The criticality of the situation demands that you immediately provide the appropriate mandate and delegated authority to your team to adjust the Security Perimeter to alleviate these risks,” he concluded.

The Epoch Times has contacted the Secret Service for comment.

Mr. Steggerda’s letter comes shortly after a man set himself on fire outside former President Donald Trump’s trial in New York City.

Police later identified the man as Max Azzarello, 37, who was a resident of St. Augustine, Florida.

He was taken to hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries, police said.

While the New York City Police Department (NYPD) said they did not believe the incident had anything to do with President Trump’s trial, they acknowledged that it raised concerns over security in the area.
A woman walks past the elephant logo of the Republican Party on the first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 18, 2016. (Dominick Reuter/AFP via Getty Images)
A woman walks past the elephant logo of the Republican Party on the first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 18, 2016. (Dominick Reuter/AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking at a press conference following the incident, NYPD Chief Jeffrey Maddrey said the force planned to reassess security with its federal partners.

On Wednesday, the RNC’s headquarters in Washington were temporarily placed under lockdown after vials of blood addressed to President Donald Trump were sent to the building.

A hazmat team was called to the scene to investigate the matter.

In a statement, the RNC’s chairman, Michael Whatley, said that the “lockdown has been cleared and staff has resumed their office duties because we remain unintimidated and undeterred in our efforts to elect President Trump to the White House.”
Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.