Secret Service Agent Says ‘You Can’t Say No’ After Trump’s Ride Around Walter Reed While COVID-19 Positive

U.S. President Donald Trump leaves the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the South Lawn of the White House on October 2, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for coronavirus.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

President Donald Trump remains hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after testing positive for COVID-19 late last week. On Sunday, he took a widely criticized car trip around the hospital — a move which many said put the Secret Service Agents in the vehicle at risk. CNN reported that members of the president’s detail, who remained anonymous, gave them insight into what happened Sunday afternoon.

There is a growing alarm amongst the public at the apparent disregard for the safety of the Secret Service detail that provides the president and first family’s security. Several agents have tested positive after traveling with Trump for political rallies. So far, the numbers for how many tested positive since the president’s diagnosis have not been released.

“That should never have happened,” said one agent who is part of the group that works with the president and his family.

“I mean, I wouldn’t want to be around them,” he said. “The frustration with how we’re treated when it comes to decisions on this illness goes back before this though. We’re not disposable.”

The agents are not allowed to participate in activities that would put the president at risk, but they do not have the same option to keep themselves from being put in danger.

“You can’t say no,” another veteran agent said.

While several agents expressed dismay at the reckless behavior, at least one told the outlet that the president was not attempting to “kill off his detail,” as has been suggested, even though the situation was out of the ordinary. The agency took steps to protect those who joined Trump in the Suburban, including providing personal protective equipment. It appeared as if others in the vehicle wore face masks, eye protection, and disposable gowns over their clothing.

In this handout provided by The White House, President Donald Trump participates in a phone call with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley in his conference room at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 4, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland.
  Tia Dufour / Getty Images

Many outside the Secret Service have also spoken out about how bad an idea Trump’s impromptu parade to wave to supporters gathered outside the hospital was considering his infection. An MSNBC report described the move as “insanity.”

An attending physician at the hospital, Dr. James P. Phillips, tweeted about his concern for those in the car for the drive around. The doctor noted that people in the vehicle, which is bulletproof and protected against biological warfare, needed to quarantine for 14 days after riding with Trump. In a worst-case scenario, they might get sick and could even face serious complications or death from the novel coronavirus.

While plenty of people agreed with Phillips’ assessment of the situation, other Twitter users wondered why it was a problem since everyone in the vehicle wore masks while they were near the president.

“But I thought masks worked?” replied Lauren Witzke, a United States Senate candidate from Delaware.

Several users pushed back against the mask criticism, noting that the president wasn’t wearing one, making the masks worn by the agents less effective, especially in a small, enclosed space.