Secret Service scrambled to secure Jan. 6 route to Capitol for Trump

The Secret Service said it rejected requests for former President Trump to visit the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, alongside his supporters. 

Trump, speaking on the Ellipse during a now-infamous rally, encouraged thousands of his supporters to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol, where hundreds ultimately breached security perimeters and faced off with police as lawmakers were counting the Electoral College votes. Trump had told them, “I’ll be there with you.”

Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi told The Hill that the White House had proposed a motorcade in the days leading up to Jan. 6 but that the agency never made formal plans to do so.

“Secret Service personnel assigned to the president’s detail told administration officials that proposed travel plans to visit the Capitol on January 6th would not be feasible,” Guglielmi told The Hill in an email.

The Washington Post first reported on the efforts to secure a motorcade route following Trump’s remarks.

As Trump spoke on the Ellipse — located just south of the White House — many had already gathered at the Capitol and began to confront police. 

“It is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy,” Trump said at the rally. “And after this we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down.”

The Hill has reached out to Trump’s office for comment.

Guglielmi told The Hill that Secret Service agents contacted local police about a potential motorcade.

“Transportation agents started making preliminary calls, just in the event that he insisted on going, that we had some type of option to get him there, but there was never any plan prior to that,” Guglielmi said.

Guglielmi said Secret Service agents ultimately spoke with senior White House officials and concluded the president would not travel to the Capitol. 

The Hill has reached out to the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department and the D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice for comment.

The Secret Service’s security protocols surrounding Jan. 6 have come into the spotlight before.

Former Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff reportedly reached out to Pence’s head Secret Service agent on Jan. 5 to raise concerns about the vice president’s safety. During the riot, the agency took Pence to an underground loading dock.

The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack is scheduled to hold its first of several prime-time hearings on Thursday, hoping to garner a wide audience after interviewing hundreds of witnesses.