Friday, June 25, 2021

the last book I ever read (Carol Leonnig's Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service, excerpt nineteen)

from Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service by Carol Leonnig:

Despite the chaos, members of the Secret Service were privately cheering Trump’s political message about cracking down on criminals and immigrants. Many in the agency leaned conservative politically anyway because of their law enforcement roots, and often voted Republican. A good number had been quietly rooting against Hillary Clinton, sharing jokes about what a nightmare she would be in the Oval Office. As a First Lady and secretary of state, she had earned such a bad reputation in the agency that it was hard to separate the reality from the lore. Some agents who had been on her protective details over the years swore she had refused to speak to them, scolded them for poor route selection when driving her to an event, and called the director to lodge complaints about them. Trump, by contrast, was normally playing bro to the agents, joshing with them about the ”crazies” who showed up to boo and hiss at his rallies.

There were notable exceptions in the agency, of course. One seasoned agent working frequently on Trump campaign events found Trump’s behavior intolerable to watch up close; the man pleaded for a reassignment, never giving the real reason, so he could escape Trump’s orbit. One of the Service’s highest-ranking women supervisors, Kerry O’Grady, was aghast at Trump’s behavior on his frequent visits to the Rocky Mountain states she oversaw as the agent in charge of the Denver field office. It wasn’t his politics that made her skin crawl; it was his lack of a moral code. He cheered fascist slogans, ridiculed the weak, and incited violence at his rallies. At a rally in Greeley, Colorado, O’Grady was shocked to realize that a national reporter had hired a retired agent for protection because Trump had incited attacks against him and the press in general. After The Washington Post released a video recording on October 7 in which Trump bragged that he could grab women “by the pussy” without asking, O’Grady couldn’t contain her building feelings. She had taken her protection duties seriously, making aggressive moves to safeguard Trump’s life such as adding reinforcements at rallies and once recommending pulling him offstage at an event where massive crowds were throwing rocks and surrounding the building. But Trump represented everything she’d spent a lifetime fighting in law enforcement. His behavior branded him a predator and a bully—the kind of danger she was normally shielding the public from. That night, she wrote a private Facebook post that many agents would later call a dereliction of duty but which she considered the rational response to a dangerous candidate like none the Service had protected before.

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