The Washington Post is reporting that there are going to be some changes to the Secret Service’s presidential security detail in the Joe Biden administration. This is not unusual in itself, but the Post says the changes come “amid concerns from Biden allies that some current members were politically aligned with President Trump.”
This is an unpleasant story in every direction. It may be unfairly maligning professionals in a deadly dangerous job. It may not be unfair, and there may truly be issues within the agency that justify what nervous Biden allies fear.
It has been difficult to interpret the behavior of Trump’s own Secret Service detail these last few years. Some members have been quick to bend to Trump’s insistence that those around him not wear masks during the pandemic. There has been no apparent pushback even as Trump has repeatedly infected members of his own security teams forced to attend plainly unsafe rallies and photo ops. You can brush much of this aside as enforced neutrality even in the face of danger, but then again: Despite the seemingly absolute necessity of the agency remaining politically neutral, a member of the service tapped by Trump for a top White House political position—a remarkable situation to begin with—is now being allowed to return to the Secret Service despite taking the most partisan possible of career shifts. That agent, Trump White House deputy chief of staff Anthony Ornato, will not be returning to help guard Biden. But he will be returning to a posh position at the agency’s training center, reports the Post.
There’s no word on whether the new curriculum will include how to organize events that expose your ex-colleagues to a deadly disease because the president got bored with safety measures, but it seems like it would come up. You can just return from that to a top job within the agency? Really? Huh.
In any event, Biden’s security detail is going to feature some of the same faces that once guarded Biden as vice president, said to be ones Biden “knows well.” But it will also by necessity feature some of the same faces that have guarded Trump, and … boy, it’s hard to know how to feel about that.
On one hand, these are people who have undoubtably watched Trump do or attempt crimes and have done nothing about it, so they take their jobs as neutral, invisible protectors quite seriously. Biden could feel confident that he could do anything, including appointing the family dog ambassador to Italy in exchange for a dog biscuit-based bribe, and his security detail would never let the arrangement leak. Right?
On the other hand, I think it is fair to inherently distrust anyone who has worked around Trump for that long, in quarters that close, but never shoved him into a sack and driven him into the mountains for a while so that the rest of us could get a moment’s peace. It is the Melania Rule: If you can stand even being near the man, you may be pretty messed up yourself.
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