POLITICS
10/01/2014 11:26 am ET Updated Oct 01, 2014

Congressman Calls For Secret Service Head To 'Step Down'

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) said Wednesday that it would be best for Julia Pierson to step down from her position as director of the U.S. Secret Service after a man jumped a fence and entered the White House.

"I'm not sure her ability to lead this department is effective anymore," he said on MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown."

Secret Service officials originally stated that fence-jumper Omar Gonzalez was unarmed and made it only to the main entrance of the White House in September. After subsequent reporting from The Washington Post, however, officials admitted that Gonzalez made it into the East Room of the White House armed with a knife.

During a hearing Tuesday on Capitol Hill, Pierson defended the Secret Service and said she approved the initial press release that was later found to have been untrue.

Collins said he "was appalled by her answer to that question. How could the head of the Secret Service approve a statement that was a lie?" The congressman added that the Secret Service officials "have failed miserably."

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said Wednesday on MSNBC that he does "not feel comfortable with [Pierson] in that position." He later said on "The Diane Rehm Show" that he has not determined whether he will push for her to step down.

The Secret Service faced further scrutiny on Tuesday after new reports that while on a visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the president rode in an elevator with an armed security contractor who had three criminal convictions.

Watch Collins' full interview above.

This post has been updated with additional remarks by Cummings.

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