John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Keeping the President Safe

Posted on October 3, 2014

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I was born two weeks after Jack Kennedy was gunned down by an assassin.

Maybe that’s why every night I say a little prayer for President Obama’s continued safety.

There was a story in today’s New York Times about how the African American community is deeply worried about the revelations of lapses by the Secret Service.

I don’t blame them.  I feel the same way.

We have grown rather complacent, thinking that the President’s security detail is infallible.

Obviously, that’s not the case.

But the latest revelation that a “jumper” actually got in the building before being apprehended is shocking nonetheless.

John Mica jokingly held up an ADT sign at a House hearing on the matter, but this security breakdown is no laughing matter, and I know Mica and his fellow colleagues take this very seriously.

They take it seriously, because they know how many crackpots there are out there.

A member of Congress gets hundreds of crazy communications from crazy people every week.  And when they do town hall meetings, they see some of those folks face to face.

A representative isn’t nearly as high-profile as a President.   Every President faces risks.  Throw in President Obama’s ethnic makeup and that only makes things more risky.

As an Irish Catholic, I have always felt an emotional connection to JFK and his murder.

I don’t want the same thing to happen to any President, but especially to President Obama.

Why are all of these security lapses happening?

Well, it starts at the top.

It is good that they replaced the former director with a new one.

The Secret Service needs better discipline.

But it also needs higher morale.

The President has smartly always said nothing but good things about his security team in public, but the Secret Service needs more than words.

It needs resources.

They are currently down more than 100 officers, and they are having a hard time filling those positions.

The President and his family also need to understand that it takes two to tango.

They have to understand the bubble they are in and behave accordingly.

President Bush would severely limit his trips outside the White House.  He would only rarely venture outside and put himself at risk.

Being President is a drag.  It carries a bunch of responsibility and a bunch of risk.

I know Mr. Obama likes to visit all the newest hot spots, but he has to understand that each time he ventures out, he stretches the capabilities of his security detail.

The White House is like a beautiful prison.  But the Walls are built not to keep prisoners in, but instead to keep the bad guys out.

The President shouldn’t be fatalistic.  He should be cautious, because we will live in an uncertain world populated with a small percentage of crazy people who do crazy things.

We all have a vested interest in keeping President Obama safe.   And that starts with the President himself.

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