Former Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow said in an op-ed that he, too, would not have taken then-President Donald Trump to the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Wackrow, who is currently a law enforcement analyst with CNN, was an agent with the service and oversaw the protection of former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama.
In an op-ed published by Newsweek, Wackrow said he was shocked by Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony to the January committee regarding Trump’s actions on the day of the Capitol riot. Hutchinson, a former aide in the Trump White House, claimed that Trump had gotten into a physical altercation with the head of his security detail while demanding to be brought to the Capitol.
“If I had been working on Trump’s security detail on January 6, I would have made the same decision as Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Robert Engel to not go to the Capitol based on the known escalating threats,” Wackrow wrote.
He added, however, that he believed Trump still respects the Secret Service because he probably has seen “first-hand what they’re willing to do to protect him and his family.”
Regarding potential tensions between presidents and their protectors, Wackrow wrote: “Presidents don’t like to be told ‘no.’ I’ve seen that elevated frustration, back and forth, but I’ve never seen the Secret Service lose that discussion.”
Wackrow also commented on Hutchinson’s recollection of how Secret Service agents defied Trump’s orders to remove the metal detectors that prevented his armed supporters from entering the area where he was delivering his January 6 speech at the Ellipse.
“This is why we don’t let the President dictate protection — it’s not a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure.’ They have to protect not only the President but everyone who’s at that event,” Wackrow wrote.
“The Secret Service isn’t there to please the protectee. The job of an agent is to ensure that that individual is safe. So while it’s beneficial to be able to have a good rapport, it’s not essential,” he added.
Several former Secret Service agents have weighed in on Hutchinson’s testimony. One told Insider on background that Trump’s “girth” would have prevented him from reaching the steering wheel because he is “not a little guy.”