A Democratic congressman is requesting a briefing from the Secret Service on President Donald Trump’s recent ride past supporters gathered outside Walter Reed Medical Center on Sunday.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) claimed Trump is being “increasingly reckless” regarding the coronavirus, according to Jackson, Mississippi, NBC affiliate WLBT. Thompson accused the president of placing Secret Service agents and their families “at risk” when he rode in a hermetically sealed car, despite the fact that the president was masked and the agents with him were decked out in necessary PPE.
Trump’s brief drive-by sparked outrage among many others, according to The Washington Post, which reported that “current and former Secret Service agents and medical professionals were aghast” at the move.
James Phillips, whose Twitter bio used to list him as an attending physician at Walter Reed, tweeted on Sunday, “That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof but hermetically sealed against chemical attack. The risk of COVID19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play.”
Trump hit back at his media detractors, saying there is nothing he could have done in that situation that would not have drawn their criticism. “It is reported that the Media is upset because I got into a secure vehicle to say thank you to the many fans and supporters who were standing outside of the hospital for many hours, and even days, to pay their respect to their President,” Trump tweeted. “If I didn’t do it, Media would say RUDE!!!”
It is reported that the Media is upset because I got into a secure vehicle to say thank you to the many fans and supporters who were standing outside of the hospital for many hours, and even days, to pay their respect to their President. If I didn’t do it, Media would say RUDE!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2020
In his full statement, Thompson said:
The President has spent the year downplaying the coronavirus and denying its danger. His actions over the past few weeks show that – even with his own illness, so many of his staff infected, and 210,000 Americans dead on his watch – he has not learned a thing. President Trump is being increasingly reckless with the health of the American people and those around him, including the men and women of the Secret Service.
Because the President must constantly feed his desire for political theater and photo ops for his reelection campaign, he created a super-spreader event at the White House – that flouted CDC guidelines – with more staffers and U.S. Senators testing positive daily. The President’s demand that the use of masks be minimized, even at the White House, defies science and has put people’s lives in danger.
The height of reckless disregard for others was the President’s ‘joyride’ yesterday where Secret Service agents were required to drive him around in a hermetically sealed vehicle. Exposing Secret Service personnel to the virus does not just put them at risk, it puts their families and the public at risk.
So we can know more about how these events have affected the Secret Service and national security, I have requested a briefing from the agency on the current safeguards in place for their employees — including on the President’s protective detail — and how Secret Service agents can be kept safe from coronavirus-related threats, including apparently the President himself.
Related: ‘That’s Going To Kill People!’: CNN Host Tries To Stop Video Of Trump Taking Mask Off From Being Aired