Donald Trump fired the director of the United States Secret Service — the agency charged with providing his own security detail — on Monday, but why the 64-year-old Randolph “Tex” Alles was dismissed by Trump was not made clear. The Secret Service, since 2003, has been an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, and according to CBS News, the firing appeared to be part of a large-scale purge of DHS engineered by Trump adviser Stephen Miller, believed to be the architect of Trump’s controversial immigration policies, including the ban on travel from Muslim countries and the family-separation policy at the Mexican border.
But according to a New York Times report, Trump may have had motivations for firing Alles that had nothing to do with DHS policy, but instead were based on Alles’ physical appearance.
According to the Times report, Trump “made fun of the director’s looks,” referring to Alles as “Dumbo” due to the Secret Service director’s prominent ears. Trump also reportedly disliked that Alles was, at least in Trump’s view, “an outsider” who was “not popular” among Secret Service agents.
Alles was a Marine Corps general and a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Armed Services, as Business Insider recounted. He also served briefly in 2017 as acting deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
A source in the Secret Service told The Times that Trump’s perception that Alles failed to “fit in” was incorrect and that the former Marine was “well liked” among Secret Service agents.
If indeed Trump fired Alles based at least partly on his appearance, it would not be the first time that Trump has made personnel decisions based on looks. According to a Washington Post report, Trump’s “background as a master brander and showman” leads him to hire top administration officials based on what he perceives as whether or not they physically fit the jobs.
“He likes people who present themselves very well, and he’s very impressed when somebody has a background of being good on television,” longtime Trump friend Chris Ruddy told The Post.
“The look might not necessarily be somebody who should be on the cover of GQ. It’s more about the look and the demeanor and the swagger.”
Alles sent a memo to Secret Service agents denying that he was fired, but that instead, he would be leaving his post as part of “an orderly transition in leadership” at DHS, according to a CNN report.
The Alles dismissal was reportedly in the works at least a week before a stunning security breach at Trump’s Florida Mar-a-Lago resort, in which a mysterious Chinese woman, Yujing Zhang, was arrested after getting past the Secret Service while carrying four cell phones, a laptop computer, an external hard drive, and a thumb drive filled with “malicious malware,” as The Inquisitr reported.
The Secret Service deflected blame for the disturbing incident, saying in statement that Mar-a-Lago’s private security staff bore responsibility for the breach, according to The Times.