Politico reports that Donald Trump is continuing to employ a goon squad as security despite having access to the full force of the Secret Service's highly-trained protection:
The arrangement represents a major break from tradition. All modern presidents and presidents-elect have entrusted their personal security entirely to the Secret Service, and their event security mostly to local law enforcement, according to presidential security experts and Secret Service sources.
But Trump — who puts a premium on loyalty and has demonstrated great interest in having forceful security at his events — has opted to maintain an aggressive and unprecedented private security force...
Once again, Trump is placing loyalty and obedience over everything, including competence. After his top "security" guy, Keith Schiller, flubbed a response to a potential threat, he got slammed by the professionals:
Schiller’s reaction was panned as too slow and was the subject of disapproving conversation among agents, according to a law enforcement source briefed on the conversations. The source said one agent described Schiller as the “JV trying to keep up in a varsity game.”
Specifically, the source said that Schiller came from a position on the dais that the agents would have used to evacuate Trump if that were to have been necessary. “If that happened, they would have run right into Keith. He was about three seconds too late,” the source said.
But keeping Trump safe isn't really Schiller's function. Trump seems to love the idea of having muscle that will rough up protesters at his beck and call. While the Secret Service might remove physical threats, Trump's goons will remove anyone they feel might hurt Trump's feelings:
[The Trump campaign] built a robust private security force that traveled the country supplementing the protective personal security supplied by the Secret Service, and working to identify and remove possible protesters — or just people Trump and his allies had a bad feeling about — from his events.
The private security team has been present at each of the seven rallies on Trump’s post-election “Thank You Tour” and has removed protesters — sometimes roughly — at many stops.
Trump's security team is violent and they're setting the example for his followers. This is how using political violence to suppress dissent becomes normalized. While the Secret Service is not staffed by angels, they're not generally in the business of violating freedom of speech because the president is a thin-skinned bully. For that, you need loyal attack dogs and that's what Trump has.
If this kind of thing is, in fact, normalized, you can look forward to "citizen protectors" roaming the audience at Trump's rallies to weed out "suspicious" (read as: "Not White") characters. Dictators cannot tolerate public criticism and Trump is already using his power to silence it. What will he do when he's president?
- This article kills fascists.