Secret Service Agent Kerry O’Grady’s October 2016 remarks about Donald Trump came to light in January 2017, prompting review by the agency managing the President’s security detail.
The Washington Examiner first covered rumors that Facebook comments purportedly published by O’Grady “triggered at least one complaint” pertaining to her fitness to serve:
A senior U.S. Secret Service agent posted Facebook condemnations of President Trump during the past seven months, including one in which she said she wouldn’t want to “take a bullet” for him.
She explained herself saying she viewed his presidential candidacy as a “disaster” for the country, and especially for women and minorities … Kerry O’Grady, the special agent in charge of the Secret Service’s Denver district, oversees coordination with Washington-based advance teams for all presidential candidate and presidential trips to the area, including all upcoming or future trips by the president, vice president or Trump administration officials.
Despite her senior security role, she has made her disdain for Trump and his incoming administration clear to her Facebook followers, who included current and former Secret Service agents and other people who were employees at the time of the posts. O’Grady’s posts triggered at least one complaint to the office that oversees investigations into Secret Service misbehavior, two knowledgeable sources told the Washington Examiner.
In one Facebook post O’Grady wrote at 11:07 p.m. on a Sunday in October, she endorsed Hillary Clinton and said she would endure “jail time” rather than “taking a bullet” for what she regarded as a “disaster” for America.
The Examiner stated that in one depicted October 2016 Facebook post, O’Grady expressed support for Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton and said:
As a public servant for nearly 23 years, I struggle not to violate the Hatch Act. So I keep quiet and skirt the median. To do otherwise can be a criminal offense for those in my position. Despite the fact that I am expected to take a bullet for both sides … [b]ut this world has changed and I have changed. And I would take jail time over a bullet or an endorsement for what I believe to be disaster to this country and the strong and amazing women and minorities who reside here. Hatch Act be damned. I am with Her.
In the attributed remarks O’Grady reportedly referenced the Hatch Act, a 1939 federal law holding executive branch employees must “maintain a federal workforce that is free from partisan political influence or coercion.” The Examiner reported that O’Grady confirmed the authenticity of the claims to the paper in January 2017, attributing the following statement to her:
I serve this country with pride and I proudly diligently and fiercely protect and support the institutions and pillars of our republic established by the very same document that allows my free expression. I do so with every fiber of my being for the very reason that those institutions are in place to guarantee my right and the rights of all our citizens to voice and express our opinions and beliefs even when and especially when those values may be contrary to those of the party in power. My devotion to mission and country is only strengthened by the fact that the founders recognize the value of dissent and the freedom to assemble and voice those opposing convictions.
They enshrine those rights for future generations so we avoid the path of authoritarian regimes that shackle their people with fear.
According to the Washington Post, the Secret Service acknowledged an investigation into O’Grady’s social media conduct:
In a statement, spokeswoman Cathy Milhoan acknowledged that the Secret Service is aware of O’Grady’s comments but declined to say what actions were being taken in response.
“The U.S. Secret Service is aware of the postings and the agency is taking quick and appropriate action,” Milhoan said. “As a matter of practice, we do not comment on personnel matters.”
“All Secret Service agents and employees are held to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct,” she added. “Any allegations of misconduct are taken seriously and swiftly investigated.”
Due to Secret Service personnel policy, the scope of their investigation as well as any possible resultant action has not been disclosed.