Updated at 2:38 p.m.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that Secret Service Director Julia Pierson should resign, a sharp rebuke from one of the top Democrats in Congress after a White House fence jumper made it inside the President’s home last month.
“If Mr. Cummings thinks that she should go, I subscribe to his recommendation,” Pelosi said, referring to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the top Democrat on a House committee investigating the security breach. “I am subscribing to his superior judgment and knowledge on the subject. But I’m also further saying that this is more than one person because there were problems before she went there.”
“Her leaving doesn’t end the need for us to know a lot more about what is happening,” Pelosi added. “There has to be an independent investigation.”
Pelosi’s office later clarified that she stopped short of calling outright for Pierson’s resignation.
Following a brutal congressional hearing on Tuesday, Pierson held a closed-door session with members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to discuss the Sept. 19 incident, in which officials say Iraq war veteran Omar Gonzalez made it all the way to the East Room before his arrest. The confidential meeting did little to assuage Cummings’ doubts in Pierson’s leadership abilities, however, and he told radio and television broadcasters on Wednesday morning that Pierson should go.
“I have come to the conclusion that my confidence and my trust in this director, Ms. Pierson, has eroded and I do not feel comfortable with her in that position,” Cummings said on MSNBC.
“I think this lady has to go,” he reportedly said during a radio interview on NewsOneNow. “The president is not well-served.”
A Cummings aide later added to those comments, saying that the Congressman believes Pierson should go if she can’t “restore the public’s trust” and address the cultural issues within the Secret Service agency. Pelosi’s office said the Minority Leader agrees with that sentiment.
Pierson said Tuesday that she takes full responsibility for the White House breach and that it won’t happen again. She also pledged a “complete and thorough” internal investigation and policy review.