In a poll conducted this week, Gallup found that nearly 56 percent of Secret Service agents remain uncommitted as to who they would like to protect and possibly die for over the next four years. The poll, which was conducted over the telephone, found that Hillary Clinton’s email scandal and Donald Trump’s history of controversial statements prevented most agents from being excited to lay down their lives for either candidate.
“I’m a registered independent,” said agent Louis Edwards, a 23-year veteran of the service. “I’ve voted to sacrifice myself for Democrats and Republicans. This year is different though. Before I cast a ballot for a candidate, I need to be able to imagine tackling a would be assassin and getting killed in the ensuing scuffle. Could I do that for a president Clinton or Trump? No way.”
Even agents that are not traditionally independents are struggling with this election. “My family has a long history of taking bullets for Republican presidents,” said agent Cody Randalls. “My father took a bullet for the first Bush. His father for Eisenhower. Hell, my great-great-grandfather died for Lincoln. Not at Ford’s Theater. That came later. Even they would understand if I hesitated before throwing myself in front of Trump. He’s not a real Republican.”
Experts expect that as the election nears many of those unsure of who to lay it all the line for will begin to make up their minds. Only a small fraction of agents are expected not to vote at all for the candidate that might put them six feet under.
Others such as agent Max Johnson are only willing to die for a third-party candidate. “I was on Sanders detail for the entire primary,” Johnson said, showing off the “Bernie or Bust” pin on his lapel. “Even once he conceded I kept on protecting him. Now that he’s pulling for Hillary, I’m at a loss. Some agents say it’s a waste to vote to act as a human shield for Jill Stein, but if I’m going to perish it’s not going to be for the lesser of two evils.”
“It’s not like my vote even matters,” Johnson added. “We’re just going to meet our maker for whoever Jamie Dimon and everyone over at JP Morgan chooses anyway.”