In a major break with tradition, POLITICO has reported that Donald Trump will be maintaining his own private security force instead of relying on the Secret Service. Those close to Trump say the president-elect will use the group to provide security for himself and his events. Normally, presidents rely on the Secret Service and local police to protect them.
Former members of the Secret Service have warned that Trump’s use of a private security force will complicate matters and increase the risk to Trump, his family and those attending or protesting his events.
Jonathan Wackrow, who served on President Obama’s detail in 2012, described it as “play with fire” and said Trump’s personal security detail, “increases the Service’s liability, it creates greater confusion and it creates greater risk.”
‘You never want to commingle a police function with a private security function. If you talk to the guys on the detail and the guys who are running the rallies, that’s been a little bit difficult because it’s so abnormal.’
Wackrow said that he personally would not allow it, but he understands that the Secret Service is in a difficult position because they don’t want to argue with the president-elect or his advisers.
‘What are they going to do, pick a fight with the president-elect and his advisers? That’s not a way to start a romance’
Trump was granted Secret Service protection several months ago but continued to employ his own security team. In fact, Trump actually increased his private security after receiving Secret Service protection.
In addition to the concerns mentioned by Wackrow and other security experts, many are concerned that Trump’s private security poses a threat to protesters. Dozens of protesters have alleged that Trump’s security team is overly aggressive and engages in racial profiling. There are several lawsuits currently pending against Trump, his campaign, or the security detail he employs.
Trump’s security team is led by Keith Schiller, a former New York City police officer and Navy veteran. He began working for Trump in 1999 and eventually became head of his security detail.
Those close to Trump say Schiller is more than just a bodyguard. They describe him as a close adviser with one official describing the man as a “consigliere.”
‘Keith is kind of a consigliere. He knows all the players, all the properties. He has the confidence of Trump and of the family. To describe him as a body guy would be very, very beneath the role that he actually plays.’
Schiller has reportedly embraced his role in Trump’s campaign; relishing in the crowds, creating his own Twitter account, and even parroting some of his bosses mannerisms on social media.
‘Wow Lyin Ted is becoming unhinged! So sad…’
Wow Lyin Ted is becoming unhinged!
— Keith Schiller (@KeithSchiller45) May 3, 2016
It’s been announced that Schiller will play a key role in Trump’s White House though apparently more as an adviser than a bodyguard. Regardless of Schiller’s new role, it appears that Trump’s security detail will remain intact despite the Secret Service’s objections.
Featured image via Getty Images.