Trump to Attend College Football Championship, Extra Security Prompted

The Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be patrolled by both undercover and uniformed officers and all overhead air traffic, including drones, will be prohibited.
Published: January 5, 2018

President Donald Trump is expected to attend Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship in Atlanta, prompting extra security and a request for attendees to leave their guns at home.

“Please, please execute the highest regard and greatest level of common sense. We CANNOT have folks continuing to bring guns and leaving them in their cars,” Chief Erika Shields said at a news conference held Thursday regarding security preparations.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says the Secret Service, Atlanta Police and additional agencies have been preparing security measures for the big game for months, well before President Trump’s decision to attend, reports WTOP.

The stadium will be secured by both undercover and uniformed police officers. The Federal Aviation Administration has also prohibited aircrafts, including drones, over the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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Bottoms says they are expecting traffic problems to be caused by Trump’s motorcade.

Although no specific threats have been made, Agent David LaValley of the FBI’s Atlanta office is urging attendees of both the game and surrounding events to call 911 if they see anything suspicious. The game is expected to bring more than 100,000 visitors to the city over the weekend.

The White House has not made an official announcement of Trump’s plans to attend, but Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos says “we’re aware of his visit”.

Trump is being hosted at the game by Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ayers. First Lady Melania Trump is also expected to attend.

College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock says the stadium already requires fans to comply with strict security procedures, but says he hasn’t been told of any additional security measures needed from the White House.

“We have met with an advance team consisting of folks from the White House, Secret Service and FBI who were analyzing the logistics for a possible visit by the president of the United States,” said Hancock. “As far as any details of a visit, those will have to come from the White House. They asked us not to talk about details, which of course you never talk about details of security. But there are ways. We have not received official word from the White House that he is coming, but we have met with a logistics team, so they’re clearly making plans.”

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is located in the congressional district of U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who has had disagreements with President Trump in the past, according to Fox Business.

Lewis says he skipped President Trump’s inauguration because he didn’t consider him to be a “legitimate president” due to Russian interference in the election.

President Trump responded by tweeting that Lewis’ district was “in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested)”. Crime and poverty in Atlanta remain higher-than-average.

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