A former Secret Service executive has highlighted the elevated risk that agents who are protecting President Donald Trump face of contracting the coronavirus in a critical new op-ed for The Washington Post.
Joseph Petro, whose 23 years of service included a supervisory role under Ronald Reagan, called out Trump and the Secret Service management’s apparent disregard for agents’ safety in the column published Tuesday.
In the article — titled “I’m a former Secret Service executive. The willingness to put agents in danger is inexcusable” — Petro noted how protecting agents was “always our highest priority.”
But “today, it seems, that is not always the case,” he lamented, recalling how Trump potentially endangered protective services Sunday by leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (amid a three-day stay for treatment of his coronavirus illness) to drive past supporters in an SUV with agents.
“Given the president’s COVID-19 infection, this was a gratuitous and dangerous political exercise that needlessly exposed his Secret Service agents — as well as their families — to the potentially deadly novel coronavirus,” Petro wrote.
Petro also described the frequent failure of agents to wear masks aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 as “very disappointing” and held “the management of the Secret Service responsible for this inexcusable lack of concern for the lives of the agents and their families.”
“The Secret Service cannot protect the president from himself, but its management has a solemn responsibility to protect those agents who put their lives on the line every day to protect him,” Petro concluded. “It should not be that hard to do.”
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.