President Joe Biden does not trust members of the Secret Service, due in part to the fact that some members are supporters of former president Donald Trump, a new book reveals.
In the book, The Fight of His Life: Inside Joe Biden’s White House, obtained by The Independent, author Chris Whipple writes that Biden’s trust issues with the Secret Service began early in his presidency when he realized that some of the agents task with protecting him were staunch supporters of Trump.
Whipple noted in his book that Biden’s Secret Service detail is much larger now than it was when he was VP, and that the president should not be surprised that many agents are “MAGA sympathizers” because “the Secret Service is full of white ex-cops from the South who tend to be deeply conservative.”
Over the summer, Washington Post investigative reporter Carol Leonnig revealed that some members of the Secret Service “were personally cheering for Biden to fail” and at least two top members of Trump’s security detail–Tony Ornato and Bobby Engel– were “very, very close” to the former president and are “viewed as being aligned” with him. Trump would later promote Ornato to deputy White House chief of staff for operations. Ornato resigned from the Secret Service earlier this year.
“Surrounded by a new phalanx of strangers, Biden couldn’t help but wonder, ‘Do these people really want me here?’” Whipple wrote.
Biden’s trust in the Secret Service was further eroded following the March 2021 incident when his dog, Major, allegedly bit an agent. Biden does not deny that the incident happened, but he “wasn’t buying the details,” of the story, according to the book.
Biden told a friend that the alleged incident took place on the second floor of the White House and “the Secret Service are never up here.” Biden thought “somebody was lying about the way the incident had gone down.”
The Secret Service’s response to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot as well as the mysterious disappearance of text messages from that day, also added to the president’s concerns about the agency. According to Whipple, Biden felt like the “Secret Service had looked both incompetent and politicized.”
Whipple said his book was based on “interviews with Biden, chief of staff Ron Klain, and others.”
Asked for comment, a White House spokesperson told the Independent that Whipple “did not give us a chance to verify the materials that are attributed here”.
“The Fight of His Life: Inside Joe Biden’s White House” will be released on Jan. 17.