Election 2016

Trump Is Maintaining His Own Scary Private Police Force, Alarming Security Experts

Trump is "playing with fire" by employing a private security force.

Photo Credit: Albert H. Teich / Shutterstock.com

The Secret Service is not enough for Donald Trump. That's the message our president-elect is sending to America with his decision to retain his private security and intelligence team into his presidency, a dangerous move that, according to security experts, "heightens risks for the president-elect and his team, as well as for protesters, dozens of whom have alleged racial profiling, undue force or aggression at the hands Trump’s security," as Politico reported Monday

The team is "led by Keith Schiller, a retired New York City cop and Navy veteran who started working for Trump in 1999 as a part-time bodyguard, eventually rising to become his head of security." Schiller, Politico reminds us:

Showed signs of reveling in Trump’s campaign, creating his own Twitter account just before the first primaries to promote the campaign and chronicle his unique perspective from the trail. He occasionally channeled his boss’s attacks on rivals like Ted Cruz (“Wow Lyin Ted is becoming unhinged! So sad...” he tweeted as Trump was clinching the GOP nomination over the Texas senator), and spread false claims about Democrats, including that 20 percent of Clinton’s campaign cash came from people who were responsible for the September 2001 terrorist attacks, 

As if a conspiracy-peddling Twitter account weren't enough, this is the same team that worked "to identify and remove possible protesters — or just people Trump and his allies have a bad feeling about — from his events." It's been this way for months: 

Photos often show Schiller looming over Trump’s shoulder as he works crowds, standing sentry by the stage as Trump speaks, or ejecting protesters from rallies. He’s developed a small, but avid fan base on Twitter, where Trump supporters cheer Schiller’s confrontations with protesters, pose for selfies with him at events and backstage, and praise him as a brave “American Eagle” who kept Trump “safe & sound.”

Trump has already spent over $1 million on his private security forces. In comparison, Hillary Clinton only spent $360,000. 

This is yet another precedent-breaking move, since most presidents-elect ditch their private campaign security soon after they win. But Donald Trump, as he's shown constantly throughout the transition, is not a normal president-elect. All modern presidents, Politico notes, "have entrusted their personal security entirely to the Secret Service, and their event security mostly to local law enforcement, according to presidential security experts and Secret Service sources."

Politico said, "the experts could not think of another example of a president-elect continuing with any private security after Election Day, when Secret Service protection expands dramatically for the winner. In fact, most candidates drop any outside security the moment they’re granted Secret Service protection." 

“It’s playing with fire,” Jonathan Wackrow, a former Secret Service agent who worked with Barack Obama in 2012 told Politico. This is only the beginning. 

 

Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer and production editor.

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