A claim that one of several Secret Service bodyguards who surrounded President Donald Trump and his family during the inauguration parade in Washington D.C. last Friday, wore prosthetic or “tactical fake arms” so that his real arms could hold a gun beneath his coat has sparked a debate online.
Inauguration video circulating online shows one of Trump’s Secret Service bodyguards, a tall, bald man, in a trench coat, holding his arms fixed in an awkward position for a long time as he walked behind President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and their son Barron, down Pennsylvania Avenue after the inauguration ceremony on Friday.
— Matt Nixson (@MattNixson) January 25, 2017
President Trump, his wife, and son had got out of the limousine to walk and wave to the crowd as they traveled toward the White House House.
The video shows the agent, that many described as bearing an “uncanny resemblance” to Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) in the 2015 action movie Hitman: Agent 47, walking behind the first family, holding his right hand close to his belt with his fingers splayed. Two fingers of his left hand appeared to hold the small finger of his right hand (see video).
The seemingly awkward position in which the Secret Service bodyguard held his arms for a long time as he walked behind Trump and Melania, scanning the crowd for a potential threat, led to speculation on some blogs and forums, such as Fraghero, that both arms, or at least one arm, mostly likely the right, was a “fake arm” designed to serve as a decoy for the agent’s real arm holding a gun beneath his coat, ready to draw and shoot at a moment’s notice.
“After yesterday’s presidential inauguration, many members of the military and law enforcement community noticed something very unusual about one of Trump’s bodyguards,” according to a writer on Fraghero. “The conclusion they reached was that he did indeed have tactical fake arms.”
But others, such as Adam Linehan, writing on Task and Purpose, argued that other videos show the same burly Secret Service agent holding his arms in other positions and moving them in a manner suggesting that they were normal functional human arms and hands.
“The bodyguard, in the background of the image, exits one of the vehicles in the motorcade, and adjusts his tie and coat the way a man — a human man with functional arms — does whenever he’s about to appear in public,” Linehan noted.
— GunGoddess.com (@GunGoddess) January 22, 2017
The Daily Mail also noted that an AFP photograph that shows the agent’s arms in different positions suggest they were real.
But some conspiracy theorists continued pushing the “tactical fake arm” theory, arguing that the videos showing the arms in different positions only showed them making limited movements that were not sufficient to dispel the theory that at least one of the arms — especially the right — might have been an artificial limb.
The right hand of the agent looked unusually large and the fingers abnormally long and splayed in a stiff and unnatural manner, conspiracy theorists argued.
— Eenadu India (@Eenadu_English) January 25, 2017
— Dino Fancellu (@DinoFancellu) January 25, 2017
Other conspiracy theorists argued that state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs are capable of simple controlled movements. Thus, the visible right hand of the agent could have been the end of a prosthetic limb, while the real right arm was concealed under the coat ready to draw a gun.
According to How Stuff Works, “prosthetic devices can be covered with a glove-like covering to make it appear more like a natural hand. Functional prosthetic limbs can actually be controlled in a variety of ways…”
Further speculation led to the suggestion that the concealed gun could be the portable Belgian-made FN-P90 sub-machine gun, known to be used by the Secret Service’s Emergency Response Teams, according to the Daily Mail.
But skeptics dismissed the arguments as facile, pointing out that the agent only held his arms and hands in a tactical quick draw position.
“It’s not a fake hand it is a quick holster draw technique… also known as Tactical Quick Draw,” a YouTube user commented. “[This] gives him a faster reaction time in face of any threat.”
“You people are truly morons… a bodyguard holds his hand up at an angle to be able to reach the holster weapons fast in a precise manner and all of you are talking is s***,” another said. “You can clearly see he moves his hands.”
Secret Service bodyguards are given training that takes into account lessons learned from previous occasions, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the attempt on President Ronald Regan in March 1981.
[Featured Image by Carolyn Kaster/Shutterstock]