Vice President Kamala Harris was in a Secret Service vehicle involved in a minor accident Monday that was initially reported as “mechanical failure.”
Secret Service spokesman Anthony Gugielmi confirmed that the vice president was on the way to the White House at around 10:30 a.m. Monday when her SUV driver “had a minor overcorrection and struck a curb.”
The initial claim, however, was that a mechanical issue forced Harris to be transferred to another vehicle, causing her arrival at the White House Monday morning to be delayed.
That narrative changed by the afternoon when Secret Service Director Kim Cheatle was told that the situation was not “accurately conveyed” from the scene. There had been no “mechanical failure,” but rather the driver of Harris’ SUV struck the side pavement.
This was done with enough force that a tire needed immediate replacement.
Secret Service accused of covering up car accident involving Kamala Harris https://t.co/Qynb3a7obu
— The Independent (@Independent) October 6, 2022
The Washington Post reported that Cheatle was “disturbed by the inaccuracy of the alert.”
Agency spokesman Guglielmi pushed back against accusations that agents intentionally tried to downplay what had happened. Instead, he said that just the most basic information was initially conveyed when the accident happened, and later the important details were added.
In a statement, he relayed that “during a protective movement Monday, a vehicle…had a minor overcorrection and struck a curb.” He reported that Harris was transferred to another vehicle and there were no injuries.
Guglielmi added that the initial radio report was of a mechanical failure, but once “the protective movement was completed, leadership was verbally updated.”
The Post reported the incident as another example of the Secret Service deliberately downplaying the facts, and referred to situations during the Obama administration. One involved multiple shots being fired at the White House in 2011.
The initial report was that “no shots have been fired…stand down.”
Sources this week said Harris was also questioning how an accident of that nature happened with the high level of training provided to her drivers. Perhaps the better question is why the initial report of “mechanical failure” was delivered at all.