One of the two Congressional mandates of the US Secret Service is the protection of high ranking officials of government, including and especially the president of the United States. This includes tactical protection, such as the immediate protection of the president’s person at public events, and strategic protection, such as anticipating potential threats to the physical well-being of the president and, accordingly, securing the president to a safe and remote location.
One of the many disturbing reports coming out of the insurrectionist assault on the American government by violent hoodlums on January 6th, is that no effort was made to remove the president to a remote location. This fact has alarming implications and raises disturbing questions, not least is the question of who is in charge and whose side are they on? That the Capitol was being sacked and overrun by a murderous mob and no effort was made to remove the president to a different secure location is a disturbing departure from protocol.
One unavoidable implication of this departure could be that Donald Trump was recognized by the Secret Service and himself as the ex officio leader of the insurrection. No further action was required.
Meanwhile, on an “Instagram Live,” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez explained that, during the violent insurrection, she was fearful for her own life, not only from the insurrectionists, but also from her very own colleagues. “I can only tell you I had a very close encounter where I thought I was going to die.”
She went on to explain that while lawmakers were told to take refuge at a specific extraction point in the Capitol building, she declined to go, explaining, “there were Q-anon and white-supremacist members of Congress in that extraction point who I know and who I felt would disclose my location and would create opportunities to allow me to be hurt, kidnapped, et cetera. So I didn’t even feel safe around other members of Congress.”
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley had a similar experience. She tweeted: “The second I realized our ‘safe room’ from the violent white supremacist mob included treasonous, white supremacist, anti masker Members of Congress who incited the mob in the first place, I exited. Furious that more of my colleagues by the day are testing positive.”
It is now clear that some members of Congress led people on a reconnaissance tour through the Capitol building on January fifth, and the very next day those same people were back as part of the mob of insurrectionists. The implications are broad and troubling.
When Donald Trump departs forever at noon on January 20th, much of the rot and corruption that he created will remain behind. Because of this we will be cleaning up the filth that is the now moribund Trump administration for a very long time to come. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.