Last week, USA Today published a lengthy report on Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle’s efforts to get politics out of the agency, just as it deals with the challenges of Trump facing charges in New York and the upcoming 2024 presidential election.
When he appointed Cheatle as director last August, President Biden said she was “the best choice” to lead the Secret Service at this “critical moment.” Cheatle once served as part of Biden’s secret service protection detail when he was vice president.
During her first remarks to the Secret Service, Cheatle suggested the agency should avoid the spotlight, saying agents should pursue their mandate “quietly and efficiently, in the background of history.”
In her interview with USA Today, Cheatle made it clear that she wanted to move on from the criticism over the Secret Service’s response to the January 6 riot, particularly the actions taken to protect former Vice President Mike Pence.
Explaining that she was the assistant director of the Secret Service Protective Operations at the time of the riot, Cheatle said she knows about the planning that took place before the Stop the Steal rally and Mike Pence’s visit to the Capitol on January 6. She told USA Today that the Secret Service had “no nefarious intent” to stop anything that day.
Cheatle also said she planned to revive the project for a replica White House training ground in Maryland which she views as essential to training and maintaining security at the White House. Last year, Congress allocated funding for a feasibility study of the project to help determine the costs.
The plans provide for outside grounds and interior rooms closely replicating the actual White House. But so far, the $10 million training facility project remains an unrealized objective. Cheatle told US Today that she finds it “unfathomable” that the Secret Service is lacking such a valuable tool. She said not one person who looked at the plan has said it would be a bad idea.