When you have a candidate like Donald Trump as your frontrunner, you’re bound to get a few terror threats. Especially after the Brussels attacks; everyone should be on high alert.
Organizers for the Republican National Convention are preparing security for the gathering in Cleveland in July amid an unusually combustible environment, in which the threat of terrorist attacks is now joined by the unpredictable behavior of foes and supporters of GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump.
In the aftermath of Tuesday’s terrorist bombings in Brussels, officials representing law enforcement, the Republican National Committee and the city of Cleveland say they will be prepared for whatever comes their way when an estimated 50,000 people converge on the Lake Erie city for the July 18-21 convention.
“Our goal is to develop and implement, with numerous participating agencies, a seamless security plan that will create a safe and secure environment for our protectees, other dignitaries, event participants and the general public,” said Kevin Dye, a spokesman for the Secret Service.
Still, some security experts say recent events suggest challenges.
“I would be concerned in Cleveland,” said former Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe, who oversaw security during the 2012 Democratic convention in the Queen City. “Cleveland has a lot of elements that would keep me up at night.”
But Monroe, who has spoken with Cleveland convention organizers, said potential nightmares could be alleviated with some well-coordinated planning.
An alphabet soup of agencies – from the Secret Service to the Department of Homeland Security to the military – have been working for months with state and local agencies in developing plans to deal with large numbers of protesters, potential domestic and international terrorist threats, and other concerns.
“During the formation of the Secret Service’s overall plan for the RNC, each participating agency is tasked based on their jurisdiction and particular area of expertise,” Dye said. “The expertise of each participating law enforcement, public safety and military agency is critical to the success of the coordinated security plan.”
On Monday, the day before the Brussels attack, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus predicted that there will be no problems with safety in Cleveland.
“We prepare for all contingencies. We will have over $50 million in security at the convention,” Priebus said on “CBS This Morning.” “We’ll be prepared; it’ll be fine. And I guarantee you’ll have a good time and it will be a fun convention in Cleveland.”
Despite a sizable lead in delegates won in primary election contests, Trump could fall short of the majority needed to win on the first ballot, forcing a contest inside the convention. He suggested last week that there might be chaos if he doesn’t leave Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, the site of the convention, as the Republican presidential nominee.
“There could very well be riots,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
The Republican convention and the Democratic convention in Philadelphia have been designated national special security events, a title given to large-scale gatherings, such as Pope Francis’ U.S. visit last year, that could be targets of terrorism.