PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell blamed most of the regulations causing trouble for Philadelphia surrounding the visit by Pope Francis to the World Meeting of Families on overzealous demands from the Secret Service.
Rendell told Rich Zeoli on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT that the Secret Service is only focused on their singular task, to the detriment of everyone else.READ MORE: South Jersey Man Recalls Moments After Shots Fired Injuring 2 Police Officers At Wawa Welcome America Fireworks Show In Philadelphia
“The Service has one goal and that is to protect the principal. They should come in and leave without getting hurt in any way. That’s what they care about. They don’t care about anything else. The act that creates these national security events says that the Service shall participate in planning the event. They don’t say the Service can dictate. But what happened is, the Service came in and, I think, from their very myopic standpoint, they didn’t care about inconveniencing Philadelphians, they didn’t care about traffic or anything like that, they didn’t care about Philadelphia businesses. They cared about protecting the Pope, which is their job.”READ MORE: 2 Police Officers Shot During Fourth Of July Festivities On Ben Franklin Parkway: Police
He said Mayor Nutter’s administration was right to push back against their rigid regulations, especially based on how he’s seen them act in the past.
“The Mayor and his crew have pushed back in the last few weeks and have gotten some concessions, but probably not enough. There’s a lot of displacement, a lot of people that are feeling pain, a lot of businesses that are, not only, not reaping the economic benefits, but will probably get hurt. I do think it was because the Service pushed everyone around, as is their want. You should’ve seen the Democratic Convention in Charlotte. They absolutely pushed the Charlotte administration around. The perimeter was a mile and a half out. We had to walk, very often, a mile and a half to get to the arena in 98 degree weather in Charlotte. It was absurd.”
Rendell also pointed out that Philadelphia’s festivities surrounding the Pope are much broader and expansive than his trips to other cities, and they shouldn’t be compared to them.MORE NEWS: With Hints Of Yellow In Sea Of Red, White And Blue, Montgomery County Town Honors Ukrainian Refugees
“New York and DC don’t have the two large public events that we’re going to have. New York has a parade, but they don’t have a large public gathering with a static crowd. There are differences. I think the Secret Service, they’re very strong, they’re very affirmative, they come in and they try to run you over. In the last three weeks for so, I think the city has pushed back and got some concessions.”