Donald Trump will attend Monday’s college football national championship game between Georgia and Alabama at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium with the city’s mayor promising a “safe, smooth and secure” event despite traffic problems expected to be caused by the presidential motorcade.
The stadium will be secured by legions of undercover and uniformed officers, overhead air traffic including drones will be prohibited and the police chief implored the more than 100,000 participants in events related to the big game 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 multi-agency news conference Thursday on preparations.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the secret service and other agencies have prepared for this for months, so the addition of a presidential visit to the mix won’t disrupt the fun.
“Enjoy the game, enjoy the city, and let us handle the details,” the mayor said.
Special agent David LeValley, who runs the FBI’s Atlanta office, said although “there aren’t any specific threats against this event, we are actively assessing intelligence that comes in.” Precautions include the Federal Aviation Administration prohibiting aircraft over Mercedes-Benz Stadium, including drones.
Both LeValley and Shields urged people to attend the game and surrounding events, including a free, non-ticked half-time performance by Kendrick Lamar in nearby Centennial Olympic Park, to call 911 if they see anything suspicious.
“We encourage and ask that everyone be aware of their surroundings while they’re in the city, and immediately report any suspicious activity, no matter how trivial it may seem to be,” LeValley said.
Monday evening’s hotly anticipated all-SEC title game between the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama was already being treated as a high-level security event, so the president’s visit won’t imply much additional security, LeValley said.
College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said the stadium already requires fans to comply with stringent security. He said he hadn’t heard from the White House about any additional measures as of Thursday afternoon.