Former Secret Service agents say that Donald Trump's 'girth' prevented him from hijacking motorcade
At the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol's sixth public hearing on Tuesday, ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified under oath that then-White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Tony Ornato informed her that former President Donald Trump lunged at the shoulders of Bobby Engel, the head of his personal protective unit, after attempting to commandeer his presidential limousine when Engel refused to drive him down the street.
"The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel," Hutchinson recalled Ornato saying. "Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said, 'Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel, we're going back to the West Wing, we're not going to the Capitol.' Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel."
Hutchinson added that Ornato, now the assistant director of the Secret Service's training office, "motioned towards his clavicles" to demonstrate what Trump did. According to Hutchinson, Engel was standing next to Ornato during their conversation and did not object to what Ornato said.
Surveillance video released by the Select Committee recorded Trump riding in a specially-equipped Chevrolet Suburban instead of the armored Cadillac, more commonly known as "The Beast." Toward the end, Trump can be seen flailing around and maybe reaching into the cockpit.
\u201cToday's testimony makes clear that Trump wanted to go to the Capitol with the armed mob, despite warnings not to do so from his advisors.\n\nWhen the Secret Service ruled out the possibility, the former President erupted in anger in the Suburban he was riding in.\u201d— January 6th Committee (@January 6th Committee) 1656445004
That innocent discrepancy could be factoring into why Engel reportedly disagrees with Hutchinson's version of events, and he has offered to appear under oath before the Committee to recount his side of the story.
But on Wednesday evening, two retired agents who worked with Trump presented an alternate perspective, remarking to Business Insiderthat Trump is "not the most agile human being" and that at 6'3" and 250 pounds was too plump to have successfully hijacked the "extremely tight" sport utility vehicle.
"Trump's not a little guy, right? And the space to actually be able to lunge towards the wheel is not that big," one of them said. "I don't mean to sound disparaging to the former president, but just his girth would prevent him from actually getting to the steering wheel."
Former Secret Service Deputy Assistant Director Bill Pickle was also skeptical and agreed with that point of view.
"Am I saying it didn't happen? I'm not going to say that, because we all know this guy can be pretty emotional," he said, and "I've never heard anything credible about that happening. You have to slightly be a contortionist to get from the back cabin to the front cabin and the president's not a contortionist."
The first unnamed agent added that while the SUV is designed for agents to move from front to back, Trump going the other way is "ridiculous. I mean, it's not a pretty sight" and that it is "hard to believe" that Trump would have even dared.
He conceded that although the scenario is "not impossible, it would… I just, I don't see this president ever being able to do that," he further chuckled to Insider. "Ever."
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