They claim it’s routine, but it didn’t feel like it was for those in attendance on Friday afternoon. About 1000 delegates at the annual conference for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials were told that they should quickly use their utensils before they were taken away.
As board member Raquel Regalado reported to those present,
“It’s very important that you use your utensils as soon as possible.” She explained that the Secret Service had dictated that no knives would be at the tables as President Obama entered the room and that the forks would soon be confiscated as well.
As she said at Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World,
“As you know, we’re having another speaker and there is some Secret Service involved. So there’s a reason why there’s no knives at your table and the forks will be collected. … And I’m not joking. So, like the good Hispanic mother I’m here to tell you to please, eat your lunch.”
The Secret Service spokesman explained that the request was not out of the ordinary, as they often made such requirements at large events where the president is speaking. As Special Agent Max Milien reported to POLITICO, “The Secret Service coordinates this process with staff and host committee to ensure tables are cleared of material that may be deemed hazardous prior to the arrival of the president. Any implication that this was unique for this event is completely inaccurate.”
Perhaps they just usually do it in a more inconspicuous manner – which would undoubtedly have been appreciated here as well.