The president of the United States is one of the most well protected people in the world. The Secret Service was formed to combat widespread currency counterfeiting following the Civil War. But since 1901 their main mission has been to see that no harm comes to the occupant of the Oval Office and his or her family. In general they have done a good job.
Donald Trump has caused a huge change in any number of things related to the presidency. So it should come as no surprise that he feels the need for his own private security force in addition to his Secret Service protection.
Politico reports Trump has been using a group of retired police and FBI agents for security and to clamp down on protests at the series of “victory rallies” he has been holding. That is the same thing he had done throughout the campaign, and those in the know say he will likely keep at least some members of this private security force when he becomes president.
Security experts and some former members of the Secret Service are not happy about the idea, saying it creates extra risk — both for the president and others he may come in contact with, such as protesters. During the campaign there were a number of encounters between protesters and Trump’s security staff.
Former Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow says the co-mingling of private security with the Secret Service is “playing with fire.” He told Politico that mixing the two forces
increases the Service’s liability, it creates greater confusion and it creates greater risk.
You never want to co-mingle a police function with a private security function. If you talk to the guys on the detail and the guys who are running the rallies, that’s been a little bit difficult because it’s so abnormal.
Trump isn’t the first candidate for president to use private security. But Politico notes that he will be the first to continue to have a private security force after election day, when Secret Service protection expands for the winner. Most candidates in the past have dropped any private security they may have used as soon as they were given Secret Service protection. In Trump’s case, he has actually spent more on private security than he did before he became eligible to be guarded by the Secret Service.
One of the jobs tasked to Trump’s security force was to identify protesters and those they “had a bad feeling about” and remove them from campaign rallies. Could Trump be looking to use this force as a private “goon squad” to intimidate protesters who want to exercise their constitutional right? His past history says, yes, that is exactly his intention.
Next we’ll hear Trump wants to put his private detail in brown shirts.