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The U.S. Secret Service is planning to shake up the presidential detail, adding more agents who know Joe Biden and worked with him when he was vice president, according to a Wednesday report.
The changes are being made because some allies of Biden are concerned that some current Secret Service members attached to the presidential detail are aligned with President Donald Trump politically, two people familiar with the moves allegedly told the Washington Post.
“As Biden readies his new administration, the Secret Service plans to bring back to the White House detail a handful of senior agents whom Biden knows well from their work more than four years ago guarding him and his family when he was vice president,” the paper said.
That said, the Secret Service routinely makes changes to staff when new presidents are inaugurated, a move designed to bolster trust from the incoming head of the Executive Branch of the agents who not only protect him but who are often close by during private moments and sensitive discussions with administration members, the Post added.
The coming changes, however, are taking place amid unusual circumstances, in that President Trump hasn’t conceded to Biden, insisting that the election was stolen from him. At the same time, his campaign is continuing to pursue legal challenges to ballots counted in states that, his lawyers insist, were cast following unconstitutional changes to voting rules and procedures ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
In addition, the Post reported that during President Trump’s tenure, criticisms arose that some members of the Secret Service backed his political agenda.
One example, the Post said, is that over the summer as the pandemic lingered around the country, some on the president’s detail pushed other agents and Secret Service officers not to don masks because Trump felt that mask-wearing projected weakness.
Also, the Secret Service took “the unprecedented step” of authorizing a former detail supervisor, Anthony Ornato, to leave his post temporarily to become a White House advisor.
Ornato helped coordinate a June photo opportunity in which the president walked across Lafayette Square amid ongoing violent demonstrations near the White House and posed with a Bible in his hand at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Earlier, rioters had set the church on fire.
In addition, Ornato assisted with the coordination of several of Trump’s campaign rallies around the country, at his behest.
He is now set to leave the White House and return to the Secret Service where he will become the assistant director at the agency’s Rowley Training Center, sources told the Post.
At the same time the agency is moving several supervisory agents who worked on the Joe and Jill Biden’s protective detail during the Obama administration into the presidential protective team, to be in place Jan. 20 if the former VP is inaugurated, the Post reported, citing sources claiming to be familiar with the changes.
“That is smart to give the incoming president the comfort of the familiar,” a former Secret Service agent who spoke anonymously told the paper. “You want him to be with people he knows and trusts, and who also know how he operates.”
Notably, a senior Secret Service special agent in charge, at the time, of the Denver, Colo., district wrote on Facebook shortly after President Trump was inaugurated that she was a supporter of his vanquished rival, Hillary Clinton, and suggested she would not take “a bullet” for him.
Kerry O’Grady wrote the post in October 2016 weeks before the election. She was immediately placed on paid administrative leave, but, in 2019, after she “quietly settled a disciplinary action against her” two years earlier, she left the agency “with her federal government pension intact,” Real Clear Politics reported.
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