GOP Ramps Up Efforts To Move RNC Protest Area Amid Security Concerns

Republican officials are intensifying their efforts to persuade the U.S. Secret Service to relocate the designated protest zone for the upcoming Republican National Convention in Milwaukee citing security concerns.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and aides to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) held discussions with Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle on Tuesday to discuss the issue.

The Republicans want a larger security perimeter that will require credentials to enter to include Pere Marquette Park, where a protest area is expected to be situated only a quarter-mile from the main convention site at Fiserv Forum. They argue what is obvious to most: that having convention attendees pass by demonstrators in the park creates a potential for conflict.

Regardless of the clear dangers, the Secret Service appears unlikely to budge on its plans with officials suggesting there is no evidence to warrant a change. Cheatle reportedly told Johnson she does not have the “authority” to modify the current security arrangements.

“I’m not a security expert but this just looks like an obvious area of concern here that I think needs to be changed,” Johnson said following his meeting with Cheatle. “So we’re going to keep working to get it changed.”

The Secret Service reiterated in a statement that the RNC security perimeter is determined by factors such as “protective intelligence risk and threat assessments,” and aims to “ensure the highest level of security while minimizing impacts to the public.”

Milwaukee city officials say they are constitutionally obligated to provide a speaker’s podium and march route within “sight and sound” of the RNC under the agreement signed with convention organizers in 2022. But Democrats have been given a 3-mile buffer zone with the protesters who will almost certainly be out in force to shout them down in Chicago this year.

The bias is clear.