Hundreds of Secret Service officers have tested positive for coronavirus following a series of campaign rallies ahead of the November 3rd election.
According to reports in the Washington Post the President’s movements have sidelined roughly 10 per cent of the agency’s core security team.
It comes after Donald Trump made a swift return to the campaign trail after he himself was struck down with the virus.
He even took part in a motorcade while in hospital to salut cheering supporters in a move that was described as “insanity” by Dr James P Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed.
“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die.”
“For political theater,” the doctor added on Twitter. “Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater.”
More than 130 Secret Service officers are said to be infected with coronavirus or quarantining in wake of Trump’s campaign travel https://t.co/URkTHjm7Fm— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 13, 2020
Trump went on a travel blitz in the final stretch of the campaign, making five campaign stops on each of the last two days.
On Nov. 2, Trump’s campaign schedule required five separate groups of Secret Service officers — each numbering 20 to several dozen — to travel to Fayetteville, Scranton, Traverse City and Kenosha and Grand Rapids.
The Secret Service employs roughly 1,300 officers in its Uniformed Division to guard the White House and the vice president’s residence. The officers are also the backbone of security for presidential trips out of town and other official events.
Earlier this week, agency supervisors told other staff about the large number of officers who have contracted the virus and said there has been expanded testing to help limit the spread, according to the people familiar with the situation.
The number of officers who have been pulled off duty creates a major stress on an already overworked team and will force many officers to forgo days off and work longer hours to compensate for absent co-workers.
“Being down more than 100 officers is very problematic,” said one former senior Secret Service supervisor. “That does not bode well for White House security.”