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President Biden reportedly has trust issues with some Secret Service agents due to their support for Trump

By Sarah May
|
December 29, 2022

A new book chronicling life inside President Joe Biden's White House claims that the commander in chief feels a pronounced lack of trust in some of the Secret Service agents assigned to him due to their support of former President Donald Trump, as The Hill reports.

The revelations come via the forthcoming book The Fight of His Life: Inside Joe Biden's White House, by author and political commentator Chris Whipple.

Biden's “discomfort”

According to a copy of the upcoming release obtained by The Hill, Whipple explains that Biden's tenure in the Oval Office thus far has been clouded by the sense of distrust he feels in some members of his Secret Service staff, largely due to the political leanings of individual agents.

“A bigger problem was Biden's discomfort with his Secret Service detail; some of them were MAGA sympathizers. He didn't trust them,” wrote Whipple.

The author further noted that Biden has had to adjust to having far more agents assigned to him as president than he ever did as vice president and that he harbors concerns about the fact that, as Whipple asserts, “the Secret Service is full of white ex-cops from the South who tend to be deeply conservative.”

Adding to Biden's worries, according to the book, was the Secret Service reaction to the Capitol unrest of Jan. 6. 2021, which the president believed made the agency appear “incompetent and politicized,” a perception that led him to wonder, in Whipple's estimation, “Do these people really want me here?”

The end result, says Whipple, was that Biden “wasn't taking any chances...[w]ary of his own Secret Service agents, the president no longer spoke freely in their presence.”

“Major” incidents

Adding to the strained relationship between Biden and the Secret Service, according to Whipple's book, is a March 6, 2021 incident involving the president's German shepherd, Major, in which an agent allegedly suffered a dog bite.

Whipple writes that Biden was skeptical of the agent's claims about the dog attack, though he did not outright deny that a bite was indeed sustained when he and first lady Jill Biden made their way back into the White House from the nearby Tennis Pavilion.

As the New York Post noted at the time, one particular agent was so frustrated by the manner in which the incident was handled, he requested Secret Service reimbursement for the damage done to his coat.

Biden, for his part, has described Major -- said to be the first shelter rescue dog to have resided at the White House -- as a “sweet” pet who was in the process of adjusting to life in new surroundings and would receive training in the aftermath of the incident.

Canine controversy

The strained relations between Biden and the Secret Service stemming from Major's conduct were exacerbated on March 8 of 2021, when, according to an incident report, “Without warning or provocation, Major barked loudly at [the agent] … and charged. Having no time to see cover from the attack, [the agent] turned away from the dog as he bit into [redacted] right leg.”

A short time later, David Cho, who was Biden's chief protective agent at the time, sent an email saying, “Major bit one of the agents this morning. The agent is OK but does have bruising and a puncture.”

According to Whipple, Biden “wasn't buying the details” of the account provided by the agent, telling a friend that agents are never present at the second-floor White House location where the bite was said to have happened.

Though this encounter was reportedly one of a string of incidents with Major, and, as the Post noted separately, the same agent sustained a second bite from Major “less than 10 days” after the first.

Delicate situation

Secret Service agents were reportedly outraged not only by the Bidens' apparent unwillingness to admit responsibility for their dog's behavior, but also by then-press secretary Jen Psaki's attempt to minimize and downplay the seriousness of the ongoing problem.

It was later revealed that Secret Service higher-ups explained to the bitten agent “the delicateness of the situation, in terms of potential damage in the trust of our protectees,” and though he withdrew his request for the agency to pay for his damages, saying that it would result in the cost being “borne by the tax payer,” he maintained that “the responsibility should lie with the party responsible for the wrongdoing (i.e. tort), and that of course would be the dog owners.”

Whether Biden's relationship to the Secret Service members tasked with his protection has improved since Whipple's book research was complete remains unclear, but if there is indeed any lingering animosity between agents and the commander in chief, it speaks to a level of dysfunction at the White House that -- for the safety of all involved -- truly demands a remedy.