Trump campaign accuses Secret Service of ‘critical failure’ in RNC convention planning

The Trump campaign sent a letter to US Secret Service Director Kim Cheatle on Thursday demanding that she fix a “critical flaw” in the security perimeter of this summer’s Republican National Convention, alleging that the security of the attendees is at risk as protesters plan to reach the area.

The convention, scheduled for July 15-18 in Milwaukee, includes a perimeter that encompasses a nearby park, Pere Marquette.

From now on, pedestrians would have to pass through Pere Marquette, owned by the city council, to reach the facilities. According to a person familiar with the security plan, the park serves as a natural congregation point and there is serious concern that the safety of attendees could be at risk if the park is not secured.

The letter, first obtained by ABC News, comes after multiple attempts by Republican lawmakers in Congress, including Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Ron Johnson and Sen. Rick Scott. They requested to meet with Secret Service and RNC leaders to discuss security at the convention while protesters made plans to demonstrate.

The crux of the Trump campaign’s request is that they would like the Secret Service to create a buffer zone (a one-block setting) between the RNC facilities and the designated protest areas.

In the letter, Todd Steggerda, a lawyer for the Republican National Committee, said the Secret Service is ignoring his concerns and multiple attempts at communication about tightening the security perimeter.

“To date, the local USSS team has not responded to the RNC’s reasonable proposal, as set forth in my April 26 letter, to alleviate these security risks through a very modest alteration of the perimeter, i.e., expanding a small portion of the perimeter. Security perimeter approximately one block to the east to encapsulate the park,” Steggerda wrote.

Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said in a statement to ABC News that “demonstration zones for the convention are designated by the host city, not the Secret Service.”

He noted that the agency has been in ongoing conversations with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Whatley, RNC staff members in Milwaukee and members of the U.S. Senate about the security plan for the convention, adding that “we take very take security planning for these events seriously. “,”

“Our security perimeters are based on public safety metrics, including protective intelligence, risk and threat assessments. Our model is designed to ensure the highest level of security while minimizing impacts on the public,” said Guglielmi .

“Publicly disclosing security information, as is done in this letter, undermines our ability to maintain the integrity of our security plan and keep the convention, attendees and the public safe,” Guglielmi added.

The city of Milwaukee has not identified “any critical defects” and is coordinating with “multiple agencies” to ensure high-level safety plans, said Jeff Fleming, Milwaukee communications director.

The letter states that someone from the Secret Service said it was “illegal” to adjust the security perimeter; However, the Trump campaign insists that the agency has the final authority and discretion to adjust it.

Adjusting the perimeter would create a balance between safety and public protection, the letter says. The Trump campaign claims that moving the perimeter allows attendees, journalists and community members to walk safely, be treated with respect and dignity, and protect their First Amendment rights. One of those rights includes guaranteeing the right to peaceful protest and assembly within sight and sound of the convention. The proposed adjustments state that this will continue to happen.

The Republican National Committee’s lawsuit comes as growing political protests against the war in Gaza are spreading across the country, many of them on college campuses. Several of the protests have resulted in arrests.

More than 50,000 additional attendees and spectators are expected to attend the RNC. Thousands of protesters are also expected.

The urgency for Trump’s campaign emerges as the convention quickly approaches.

“With less than two months until the Convention and even less time before the USSS finalizes the Plan, it is imperative that immediate and personal steps be taken to correct this unacceptable flaw in the design of the Security Perimeter,” Steggerda writes in the letter. .

-ABC News’ Luke Barr contributed to this report.

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