Reportedly Donald Trump will retain his private security detail in some fashion after he is inaugurated. Every day it seems the incoming administration is departing from the logistical norms for the Presidency. Politico reported on this unorthodox move yesterday.
The arrangement represents a major break from tradition. All modern presidents and presidents-elect have entrusted their personal security entirely to the Secret Service, and their event security mostly to local law enforcement, according to presidential security experts and Secret Service sources.
But Trump — who puts a premium on loyalty and has demonstrated great interest in having forceful security at his events — has opted to maintain an aggressive and unprecedented private security force, led by Keith Schiller, a retired New York City cop and Navy veteran who started working for Trump in 1999 as a part-time bodyguard, eventually rising to become his head of security.
Left wing blog Salon.com is suddenly concerned about Trump’s safety.
If the Politico article is correct, Trump’s private security staffers have not been trained for this kind of work and may actually make Trump less safe than if they were not there at all. All this raises the question of why he insists on having them around.
Well, it’s not really Trump’s safety that they’re really concerned about.
It turns out that the main function of Trump’s private security forces has been to deal with protesters at his rallies, which he has bizarrely continued to hold since the election and promises to continue to do so.
Both Trump and his left wing detractors want to have their cake and eat it too. Trump wants to be president but he doesn’t want to accept the established security apparatus as is. He still doesn’t want to admit the apparent conflicts of interest uniquely inherent to his presidency. The left wants to be able to protest his rallies and try to provoke violence but they don’t want Trump to have security people aimed at preventing it.
Trump is appearing only before friendly crowds, with many people who have been to Trump rallies before and consider themselves part of his “movement.” Rather than using the opportunity to wind down hostilities, as one might expect a new president with a very shaky mandate to do, he’s winding them up.
This is where his private security force comes in. The specialty of these folks seems to be in bringing the hammer down on dissent. Where the Secret Service concentrates on keeping the president safe, these “special bodyguards” concentrate on protesters. Here’s some footage from Trump’s “Thank You Rally” in Michigan on Dec. 9, after he gave the signal to “get ’em out”
Appearing only before friendly crowds was Obama’s SOP for much of his tenure. Politics is more stage-managed than Oscar night. Still, there are probably people who believed that women routinely fainted in Obama’s presence.
The rallies do give Trump the air of a banana republic strongman. Saying that you’re going to be president for all the people to a stacked crowd looks pretty dodgy. Greg Gutfeld was right when he said that a similar Obama victory lap would have caused many on the right to come unglued.
Tribalists aren’t big on consistency. They judge actions to be good or bad according to who does them, not according to any moral or ethical code of conduct. This is why so many social media political arguments boil down to “Oh yeah? Well your guy did it too.”
Trump is probably keeping his security people on board more out of loyalty than anything, though one could argue that the Secret Service’s performance of late hasn’t been stellar. Fence jumpers and Colombian hooker scandals don’t inspire confidence. The proper route would be to “make the Secret Service great again” instead of trying to supplement them with Trump’s private bodyguards though.
So what’s the big deal? So far the Secret Service hasn’t said anything, although former agents seem to believe this is a dangerous situation that could interfere with Trump’s security. But what makes people nervous about this arrangement is the idea of a political leader having his own security guards and a growing group of fanatical followers who are being worked up and fed propaganda by the president — who happens to be a demagogue.
Project much? Salon’s only problem is that it’s no longer their demagogue feeding propaganda to fanatical followers.
Some may remember that when Bill Clinton first took office he floated the idea of using Arkansas State Troopers for security in addition to or in lieu of the Secret Service. In hindsight that was probably only because he assumed that he wouldn’t be able to get the Secret Service to go out and round up bimbos for him to nail like the Troopers did for him as Governor of Arkansas. As First Lady, Hillary used opponents’ FBI files and employed private investigators to dig up dirt on Bill’s bimbos to use against them either for keeping them silent or ruining them if they spoke out. I’m sure many of the people who were outraged by all that will attack anyone questioning Trump’s decision to use private security.
All the talk about draining the swamp misses the mark because Washington isn’t a swamp. It’s a sewer. And everyone thinks the stink only comes from the other side.