When Donald Trump slithered his coronavirus-riddled body into the presidential limo last month for a bizarre micro-parade outside Walter Reed hospital, there was a good deal of hand-wringing over his narcissistic disregard for his various staffers — chief among them, his assigned Secret Service detail, who were forced to accompany their infected leader into an enclosed space for what ultimately amounted to a pointless vanity exercise.
Now, a month later, the concern over the president's Secret Service protectors seems to have been well warranted — not due to his brief hospital break out, but instead due to the final days of his re-election campaign in general.
According to multiple sources "familiar with agency staffing" who spoke to The Washington Post this week, a whopping 130 Secret Service agents are quarantining after having either tested positive for coronavirus, or because they came in close contact with someone else who did. What's more, a significant portion of those cases are believed to stem from the president's blitzkrieg series of medically inadvisable campaign rallies in the waning days of the 2020 race.
"Being down more than 100 officers is very problematic," one former senior Secret Service supervisor told the Post. "That does not bode well for White House security."
The more than 100 Secret Service officials sidelined by coronavirus represent a significant portion of the agency's overall staffing power. According to the Post, it accounts for approximately 10% of the Secret Service's "core security team," while CNN reports the agency has around 4,500 agents and uniformed officers dispatched to various high level political details and embassy positions around Washington, D.C.
Earlier this spring, the Secret Service dealt with a similar, albeit significantly less widespread, outbreak of coronavirus among its ranks. And shortly after the president's hospitalization in October, agents reportedly began complaining that the Trump's campaign's seeming laxness regarding COVID-19 protections was becoming an occupational hazard.
"Those agents in the field have been complaining," a retired agency supervisor told NPR. "I've gotten that from multiple friends that are on the job, that they're not happy in the ranks, that they're having to work at these rallies where people are coming in without wearing masks and that the Trump campaign has made that okay."