Bebeto Matthews/AP

Secret Service Will Maintain ‘Main Duties’ for Protecting Trump, Team Says

Spokesman calls report of private security firm’s large role blown "wildly out of proportion."

Donald Trump’s transition team on Monday denied reports the president-elect will rely heavily on private security rather than the federally provided Secret Service, though it declined to say the agency will tackle that duty alone.

Following a Politico report that Trump would continue to use his own security personnel throughout this presidency, transition spokesman Jason Miller said on Monday the report was “complete nonsense.” Miller said one individual, Keith Schiller, who is Trump’s personal head of security, is one of many “longtime allies and advisers” with which the president-elect will continue to surround himself.

Politico called the decision a “major break from tradition,” noting all modern presidents have relied exclusively on the Secret Service for their security. Miller said that assessment was “blowing it out of proportion,” though he did not dispute Trump’s personal team would have some role to play going forward.

“Obviously, the main duties of protecting the president-elect and soon-to-be president are of course carried out by the Secret Service, who does a fantastic job,” Miller said. He also noted Schiller has been a “fantastic ally” who has been by Trump’s side to “support and defend the president-elect.”

Miller added Trump has been “blessed” to have Secret Service protection, explaining, “They’re the ones in charge of ultimately the president-elect’s security.”

Trump, as noted by Politico, brought his private security team to each rally on his “thank you tour” in several states across the country. Asked about possibly partnering with a private firm, a Secret Service spokeswoman said the agency does not comment on its protective operations. 

The Secret Service has come under fire during the Obama administration for high-profile security lapses and scandals. Agents also reported being overworked throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, and Congress had a to pass a law to allow the employees to collect the overtime they had earned. In an omnibus spending bill for 2016, Congress also allocated $4.5 million for Secret Service hiring and $4 million in overtime to hasten the hiring process.

Still, the agency remains behind on its hiring goals and could face new pressures under a Trump administration, as the president-elect will reportedly spend a significant amount of time in New York City. Additionally, his wife and youngest son plan to at least temporarily live in Trump’s New York home, which will require additional Secret Service resources. 

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