Protection provided by Secret Service may have been the norm for past presidents and president-elects.
But not for Donald Trump.
In “a major break from tradition,” Politico‘s Kenneth P. Vogel writes Monday, Trump not only has continued to use his private security team during the transition, but he also “is expected to keep at least some members of the team after he becomes president.”
“It’s playing with fire,” Vogel quotes Jonathan Wackrow, a former Secret Service agent, as saying. Such a team working along with Secret Service “increases the Service’s liability, it creates greater confusion, and it creates greater risk,” Wackrow said.
At the helm of this controversial force is retired New York City police officer and Navy veteran Keith Schiller, who “never strayed from his boss’ side” even after Trump got Secret Service detail starting in Nov. 2015. Schiller, according to an unnamed transition team official, “is kind of a consigliere.”
Vogel writes: “The private security team has been present at each of the seven rallies on Trump’s post-election ‘Thank You Tour’ and has removed protesters—sometimes roughly—at many stops.”
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In fact, he writes, protesters “have alleged racial profiling, undue force, or aggression at the hands of Trump’s security, with at least 10 joining a trio of lawsuits now pending against Trump, his campaign, or its security.”
Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller dismissed Politico‘s reporting as “complete nonsense” and “out of proportion,” according to far-right news site Breitbart.
“Now obviously the main duties of protecting the president-elect and soon to be president are of course carried out by the Secret Service,” Miller said on a press call, but he also confirmed the Politico story, saying. “Trump is going to continue to be surrounded by longtime allies and advisors.”
According to Esquire columnist Charles P. Pierce, Trump “has decided that none of the political norms apply to him because he is a superior human being to the other 44 slackers who’ve held this office.”
Indeed, he may enter the White House with a historic amount of conflicts of interest, and is brushing off “far fewer [intelligence briefings] than most of his recent predecessors” because he is “like, a smart person.”
Noting also an event Sunday in which Trump “wine-and-dined his press pool,” Pierce adds, “There is no reason, therefore, that the press should conduct itself as though a Trump presidency is in any way business as usual.”
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