Secret Service says they’re sorry, but that’s small comfort for the hundreds of children suffering from cancer who had to be moved from the area near the White House because Obama was going to a speaking engagement.
A candlelight vigil that failed
Because the ordeal took about two hours, most of the children had to go back to their hotel rooms for rest and medication.
KXLY news wrote,
Attendees described scenes of crying children and angry parents being barred from re-entering the park for at least two hours during the time the Secret Service had closed and guarded the area, despite the group having obtained a permit to use the park between 7-9 p.m. Saturday.
Many of the children became tired or needed their medication, and had to return to their hotels with their families.
Such park closures are frequent and also affect the pedestrian area outside the White House. Officers clear the entire area to limit potential threats to the President or dignitaries.
Limiting threats to the President is important, obviously, but the Curefest Vigil had permits for the use of Lafayette Park for the time frame of 7 p.m.- 9 p.m.. Making 700 people move during a candlelight vigil that was meant to raise awareness for children’s cancer was a little extreme.
Making people wait
This is not the first time ordinary citizens have been displaced because of the President’s motorcade. In 2014, Obama’s entourage prevented a pregnant woman (who was in labor, no less) from getting to the hospital by making her wait on the street corner for over 30 minutes. Fortunately, she was able to make it to the hospital in time to have her baby there instead of the bench on the street.
In early 2015, a pregnant woman was forced to have her baby in the car because an Obama convoy shut down several roads. Fortunately an EMT and a nurse were also stuck in the same traffic jam and were able to help her give birth in her car.
The Secret Service did apologize, but it seems that better communication would be in order. They said it was “standard protocol.” Sort of a standard operating procedure for this administration – messing with people’s lives all the way around.