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Black Lives Matter protests erupted in Minneapolis last week after the death of 46-year-old George Floyd. Video footage showed a police officer kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for eight minutes before he died, and four officers have since been arrested, one of whom has been charged with second degree murder. People across the US and the world have taken to the streets to protest police brutality and racism.
Mr Trump has been accused of fanning the flames of unrest and violence with his words, including one tweet that read: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
On Friday last week, the President, First Lady Melania Trump and their son Barron were taken to a bunker after protesters breached one of the barricades outside of the White House complex.
Mr Trump later insisted he was not in the bunker for security reasons, but was just down there to inspect it.
However, security has always been a touchy issue.
or example, it caused great upset during George W Bush’s presidency, because his adult daughters Jenna and Barbara objected to constantly being watched by their security.
In Ronald Kessler’s 2010 book ‘In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protest’, agents revealed how the women longed for their own freedom.
Jenna and Barbara were 19 and in college when their father was elected US President, and would often try to ditch their security detail.
They would not tell them where they were going or who they were seeing, and Jenna would apparently even run red lights to evade her agents.
One Secret Service agent said: “I think she has a hard time grasping how easy it would be to pick her up, throw her in a van, and the next thing you know she’s on Al Jazeera.
“And we’re out there, we’re trying to do the right thing. And I don’t think she understands it.
“She definitely didn’t respect what we were out there trying to do for her.”
Another added that Jenna “doesn’t like the protection whatsoever” and that “the supervisor of her detail was scared of her, because they were afraid that she was going to pick up the phone and call dad”.
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Jenna apparently called her father numerous times asking him to get the agents to back off
One said: “The President would call the special agent in charge (SAIC).
“The SAIC would call the detail leader, the detail leader would call the guys and say, ‘Hey, you’ve got to back off.”
Meanwhile, on other occasions President Bush would scold the security detail for not following his daughter closely enough.
One afternoon at the White House, Jenna snuck out a back exit onto the Rose Garden and gave her detail the slip.
Her father, on the other hand, did spot her sneaking out and called the detail leader to complain that she was not being followed.
One agent recalled: “She stepped up to the plate and said, ‘Daddy, I didn’t tell them where I was going.’”
Another added: “Every day we’d run the risk of losing her. She never told us where she was going. It was rare.
“Sometimes she’d tell Neil [the detail leader], and he would get the scoop of what was going on, and Neil would try hard to get that information.”
Another agent claimed that Barbara, who was attending Yale at the time, was almost as difficult as Jenna.
They said: “She’d pick up the phone and call dad and say that we’re getting too close.”
Barbara also had a habit of just jumping in her car with her friends and driving to New York, where she would stay overnight with no advance warning.
Sometimes she would just go to the airport and fly there.
Another anonymous agent said: “Agents learned to pack a bag with clothing, because it became a habit for both Barbara and Jenna to say ‘I want to go to the airport, I was to fly to New York’.
“The guys were prepared to work an evening shift and all of a sudden they’re going with just the clothes on their backs.”
Several other First Daughters were known to give their agents a hard time, including Susan Ford and Amy Carter.
Meanwhile, Chelsea Clinton was apparently very well-behaved and “did it the best”.
Like Barron Trump, she was very young when her father was first elected, and so was not in the habit of going places on her own.
‘In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protest’ was written in 2010 by Ronald Kessler and published by Crown Forum. It is available here.
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