Let’s face it, the US Secret Service is no angel.
Hooker scandals, stripper scandals, heavy drinking and god knows what else.
Rumor has it they partied late into the night the day before JFK was gunned down in Dealey Plaza in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
To say they dropped the ball on that day is an understatement.
But the job of the Secret Service is to protect the president of the United States. It is not to engage in political commentary, Jacob Heilbrunn of The National Interest reported.
Enter US President Donald Trump and Covid-19. By all respects, an unprecedented situation.
After Trump briefly circumnavigated Walter Reed hospital in a Chevrolet Suburban sport-utility vehicle, criticisms of the president were widespread, National Interest reported.
While CNN tends to dump on Trump no matter what he does, one could say many of the critiques were justified.
But those criticizing the president also included Secret Service agents, a development that is a tad alarming, to put it nicely.
Here are some of the eyebrow-raising remarks that serving agents made. The Washington Post reported that an agent said, “He’s not even pretending to care now.”
And CNN reported the gripes of a number of agents:
“That should never have happened,” one current Secret Service agent, who works on the presidential first family detail, said after Trump’s controversial drive-by, adding that those agents who went along for the ride would now be required to quarantine.
“I mean, I wouldn’t want to be around them,” the agent said, expressing a view that multiple people at the Secret Service also voiced in the wake of Sunday’s grandstanding appearance.
“The frustration with how we’re treated when it comes to decisions on this illness goes back before this though. We’re not displosable.”
There is more. Another agent complained, “You can’t say no.” Another declared, “it was simply reckless.”
It may have been reckless. But it is not the task of the Secret Service to weigh in on any action of a president, Natonal Interest reported. This has never happened before.
America, however, does not have a praetorian guard. It has an agency that is supposed to be dedicated to protecting the president’s life, no more no less.
The blunt fact is that the record of the Secret Service has been quite checkered in recent decades, The National Interest reported.
Recall that in 2012 a scandal erupted when Secret Service agents were found being serviced by prostitutes in Colombia.
Eleven agents were placed on leave and had their security clearances suspended. It happened again in 2017 when an agent assigned to the vice-president was busted meeting with a prostitute at a Maryland hotel, National Innterest reported.
Other embarrassments have involved excessive drinking while on duty.
But the latest comments from serving agents offer even more cause for alarm. They signal an erosion in the single-minded mission to serve and safeguard the president, The National Interest reported.
Previously, agents have criticized presidents after they resigned from the service.
For example, in Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate, former agent Gary J Byrne painted a disparaging portrait of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
He described the latter as “volcanic, impulsive, enabled by sycophants and disdainful of the rules set for everyone else … a cheerless grifter always on her scheming way.”
Presidential personalities can sometimes clash with Secret Service agents, but attacking a president or his wife after resigning from duty is one thing.
Doing it while they are still serving is another.
Medical experts and physicians said the episode appeared anything but safe, CNN reported.
“That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack,” Dr James P Phillips, who is affiliated with Walter Reed, tweeted.
“The risk of Covid-19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play.”