COVID-19 continues to devastate here in the U.S., with rising case numbers, short-staffed hospitals, and hundreds of thousands of Americans losing their lives to the pandemic within the past few months. Now that we seem to be entering a second wave of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to take the necessary precautions — think social distancing, masks, and, if you’re the president of the United States, avoiding holding mass rallies to indulge the ego.
Dozens of members in Trump’s circle are currently quarantined with the virus, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and campaign adviser Corey Lewandowski but while his administration flouts CDC protocols, it seems those in charge of keeping the president and his cronies safe are the ones who are suffering for it. The Washington Post reports that over 130 Secret Service agents within Trump’s own detail have now fallen ill with COVID. The agents, many of whom accompanied Trump on pre-election rallies, represent 10% of the agency’s total staff — a huge blow especially following Trump’s earlier rallies this summer that sidelined dozens of agents.
According to The Post, the agency is still working to ascertain whether agents contracted the virus only at these rallies, where they were in charge of screening attendees and securing perimeters, or whether The White House has become a new COVID-19 hotspot, seeing as many staffers refuse to wear masks while on duty.
Because the secret service is now operating understaffed — the agency normally employs 1,300 agents to guard the president, vice president, and White House staff in residence and on trips — there are concerns that security breaches may be more likely. And it’s not just Trump’s team that might be in danger because of this outbreak. There are reports that because of the president’s refusal to facilitate a smooth transition of power, President-Elect Joe Biden and his team haven’t been offered the standard number of secret service agents.
Obviously, Twitter is pissed about this news — and rightly so.
He… Doesn’t… Care… https://t.co/qWqkbnEOEF
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) November 13, 2020
if I told you a foreign country had installed an agent who:
1. tore the Pentagon to shreds
2. Debilitated the secret service
3. killed hundreds of thousands of Americans with mass infection events
you'd think we lost a war.
(we did) https://t.co/HoKdWWCsZb
— David Dennis Jr. (@DavidDTSS) November 13, 2020
Buried in NYT story on GSA refusal to authorize transition is that it results in substandard Secret Service protection for Biden. https://t.co/wdvVeer1KX pic.twitter.com/Vz5GyIZE5L
— Frank Rich (@frankrichny) November 11, 2020
On cold night, seeing a Secret Service agent outside Oval Office, JFK asked him inside but was told he couldn't—Kennedy brought out two cups of hot chocolate, which they both drank in the cold—years later, the weeping agent said, “That’s the kind of President I’ve been serving."
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) November 13, 2020
Shame on you, @realDonaldTrump and your family. You put those sworn to protect you at risk with your reckless, dangerous choices. Hope every Secret Service agent and their family members receive the same care you did if they get sick from #covid19. https://t.co/XJqDCzSRrK
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) November 13, 2020
My God. https://t.co/gMsAj1zVaG
— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sifill_LDF) November 13, 2020
Putting the U.S. Secret Service and their families at needless risk is cruel and unconscionable. https://t.co/lgHeMHGtXO
— Valerie Jarrett (@ValerieJarrett) November 13, 2020
As hospitals near capacity across the country and we tip the scales at 152,000 cases reported in a single day, this probably goes without saying but we’re going to say it anyway: Wear a mask.