A day after the Secret Service apologized for denying Gerry Adams access to a White House St. Patrick’s Day reception, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough has also addressed the issue.
There was widespread condemnation of Adams' exclusion, including a congressional demand for information signed by leading Irish American legislators.
Among those calling for an explanation was Queens Congressman Joe Crowley and Springfield, MA Rep. Richard Neal.
On St. Patrick’s Day they reached out directly to McDonough, who is considered President Obama’s closest aide.
Crowley’s office released a statement: “This afternoon, Joe and Rep. Richard Neal held a call with WH Chief of Staff Denis McDonough where they discussed the issue with Adams on Tuesday night, as well as the broader issue of Adams and other members of Sinn Fein facing challenges when traveling, etc. I’m sure you are aware that Joe, Neal and others sent a formal letter to McDonough. In addition to that request, Joe reached out to McDonough directly to see if he could get on the phone for a conversation on the issue – hence, the phone call this afternoon."
McDonough was receptive of his and Neal’s concerns and Crowley said it was clear that McDonough feels strongly about the community. In short, it was a positive conversation.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry adams had made his anger known.“I arrived at the proper time and had all the appropriate documentation,” he said and the guard told him there was a “an issue of ‘security.’”
“I wasn’t disturbed when they said they had a problem because that happens all the time.” However, after being kept waiting for 90 minutes he left.
The Secret Service later apologized
“The Secret Service would like to express our regret that the issue involving Mr Gerry Adams’ entry into the St. Patrick’s Day reception could not be resolved in a more timely manner,” a spokesperson said.
“Unfortunately, an administrative input error received by the Secret Service was not able to be rectified promptly.”