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Dutchess_III's avatar

Do you think the Secret Service's loyalty should be to the country first, the president second?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42474points) January 9th, 2017

It’s just something I thought of.

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23 Answers

Darth_Algar's avatar

How do you mean?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Oh I see “take one” for the country and let the other guy tweet.

Zaku's avatar

I expect it is already. They’re not his personal sworn swords. That was how it often worked in Medieval Europe, however. Kings would tend to have their own guard of sworn warriors often from other nationalities, so as to reduce the chances that they would betray him for local reasons.

Cruiser's avatar

I don’t see how you can separate out the 2.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I just wonder if they might look the other way if someone takes a shot at Trump. Rumor has it that Hitlers guards betrayed him.

Cruiser's avatar

@Dutchess_III My guess is the SS presidents detail is thrilled to have that assignment. With 7,000 in the Secret Service only a select few will have that chance.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

The SS people assigned to presidential detail are there to protect the Head of State. That is their stated duty and their focus. I agree with that, even if I happen to not like the guy or agree with his/her politics. The death of any president at any time causes mass emotional, political and financial market disruption. For those of you who are old enough, you know how this country changed after the Kennedy assassination.

It became an era of distrust, instability and insane conspiracy theories that we still live with today. Soon afterwards, it seemed like the world blew up around us. Civil Rights, Freedom of Speech and Anti-War movements and the police assigned to keep the peace, suddenly became violent like never before, the term “generation gap” was coined to describe a social anomaly that developed to such a grand scale that we had no one word to descibe it—there were many people who didn’t speak to their parents again for decades. By the summer of 1967, over 100 cities were burning, the violence at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, the riots on almost every major campus—if we had a little more trust in one another, a lot of the violence may not have erupted.

It may be conflation on my part, but I trace a lot of what happened between the Kennedy assassination and the end of the Vietnam War to the violent death of a controversial president and the unanswered questions surrounding it.

The violent death of a President must be avoided at all costs.

Darth_Algar's avatar


However much I may dislike Donald Trump that’s a bad precedent to establish. If the president’s guard feel they have no obligation to secure and protect the president, even at the cost of their own lives if necessary, then anyone who holds the office of POTUS is likely to come to an end before their term of office does.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I understand. But…what if the president is seriously fucking up the country? What if he’s allowing foreign powers to pull his strings, for the benefit of the foreign countries and the detriment of America? I mean, what if it gets so bad that it can’t be ignored?

dabbler's avatar

One is supposed to be able to rely on Congress to impeach a president who commits high crimes.

janbb's avatar

What bugs me is not that they have to protect the President but that we have to spend extra money to protect them at Trump Tower where they are spending most of their time.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Dutchess_III “allowing foreign powers to pull his strings” He not letting anyone else in on the profit all monies will go through a Trump company.
The foreign government only got the lowdown for him to win, they will get the sub-contracts (no “Buy American” requirements for Cheeto) .

stanleybmanly's avatar

The Secret Service is not and should never be allowed to judge the governing competence of its charges when it comes to the protection of those to whom they are assigned.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And the jury must disregard any testimony they just heard that the judge finds inadmissible.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Yeah. I’m certain there will be ironic thoughts in the head of the man or woman hurling him or herself in front of the bullet meant for Trump. But we MUST insist. Personally, you couldn’t pay me enough to take the job.

flutherother's avatar

In a democracy there is no division. The country and the president are one. In four years’ time you can vote the bum out.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Executive protection is a tough job. Often the client is someone who does illegal drugs, beats women, starts fights, and /or does whatever they want. It’s not just jumping in front of bullets. It could mean putting out all kinds of fires. Hiding or destroying evidence or convincing people to drop legal cases.

If you’re paid to be a bodyguard you have to concede that your morals are now that of your client’s.

To get to the Secret Service, and actually be one of the few who would be in position to save the president’s life ,you are already accustomed to working that job for scumbags. It takes a total professional, and someone in top shape. I imagine that the screening process is very thorough for the SS that work with the POTUS…

And as mentioned above, the POTUS’s life is essentially bound to the country,and vice versa…

In Trump’s case, he’s spent decades making powerful enemies. His current security team is probably tip top. Their skill set may be comparable to the SS.

I’d be interested in where his personal security team,and the SS will overlap. Will his team be forced to stay away? I’m sure his Head of Security is someone who the SS should speak with.

Protecting such a figure as Trump in NYC consistently must be a rather unique challenge.

Zaku's avatar

One problem with your fantasy scenario in Pence. He looks worse, so in order for the theoretical SS agent to turn the other way, he ought to also consider whether or not Pence is going down too. Since Trump is more random and idiotic than Pence, Trump might be slightly less awful.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Trump is such an aberration on so many fronts that nearly every dynamic regarding the relationship between the President and strictures of governance must be redefined. Trump’s busy tentacles, already distinguished by decades of shady disregard for ethical considerations, place our upcoming Commander in chief in a spot where it is impossible for the man to address any issue involving the country without egregious and clear cut conflicts of interest. Perhaps it’s a good thing that the disguises available to previous Presidents around the real relationship between the ruling class and the government are now snatched away. The “man behind the curtain” this time is just too far over the top. No curtain is big enough!

MrGrimm888's avatar

^The curtain was big enough to cover enough voter’s/sheep’s eyes…

stanleybmanly's avatar

That’s the disturbing part of this. Most of the negatives are CLEARLY visible, and yet…..

dabbler's avatar

The thought experiment is innocent, I’d say, and it’s a plot for a TV mini-series, but at the end of the day we want people to do the real jobs by the book.

There is a slippery-slope question about the rights of vigilanties.
If that Secret-Service passive-aggressive scenario is beyond understandable…excused?... then other scenario that lead to someone’s death – are they equivalent?
How involved are you in the conclusion if you could have prevented it?

Being in a job like that is by choice and the stark thing is that taking one for the chief is part of the job if needed.

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