Saturday, June 12, 2021

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

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

Bush and his wife, Barbara, treated the Secret Service agents who protected them and their large brood like part of the extended family—not like “the help.” The Bushes drew the agents closer into their unscripted lives than most First Families allowed. The warm feelings were mutual. Agents had seen the president try to calmly counsel a fuming grandchild and watched him cry recalling the death of his three-year-old daughter from leukemia. The president and First Lady often asked about the agents’ children and families. Bush and his children frequently pulled the agents into the family’s legendary sporting battles—as a fourth in a doubles match or as helpful ringers in a family football game. Barbara Bush was forever pushing extra sandwiches and appetizers left over from ceremonial events into agents’ hands and urging that aides take coffee to agents standing outside. Barbara Bush didn’t think twice about mothering—and bossing—the agents.

“Can you get the phone, dear?” she hollered to one through the family home at Kennebunkport during a summer break. And one winter, she scolded an agent to put on one of her husband’s knit caps that she held out in her hand—or else.

“You better do what Bar says,” President Bush warned.

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