The Secret Service is taking “appropriate action” in response to an agent who suggested on social media that she would not protect President Donald Trump from a bullet, the agency said Tuesday.
The Washington Examiner reported Tuesday that Kerry O’Grady, a special agent in the Denver field office, had posted on Facebook before the election about her support for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and that she would rather “take jail time over a bullet” for a candidate she despised, who she did not name explicitly.
Federal employees, including Secret Service agents, are barred from commenting publicly on their political positions by the law known as the Hatch Act. But in her now-deleted post from October, O’Grady suggested that she had to speak out, “Hatch Act be damned.”
"As a public servant for nearly 23 years, I struggle not to violate the Hatch Act. So I keep quiet and skirt the median," she wrote. "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.”
"But 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,” she added. “I am with Her.”
The Secret Service told CNN Tuesday that it was “aware of the postings and the agency is taking quick and appropriate action,” though it declined to comment on specific personnel cases.
In a statement, the agency said “all Secret Service agents and employees are held to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct ... Any allegations of misconduct are taken seriously and swiftly investigated.”
O’Grady, who deleted her posts after a few days, told the Examiner in an interview Monday that her comments had been prompted by the leak of an “Access Hollywood” tape that showed the president making lewd comments about sexually assaulting women.
"There was a very emotional reaction to what was said” in the tape, she told the Examiner, adding that after reflection the post “was not the sentiment that I needed to share.”
O’Grady also stressed that her post did not mean she would not defend the president: “I firmly believe in this job. I'm proud to do it and we serve the office of the president ... I recognize that the agency is the most important thing to me. My government is the most important thing to me.”
Yet she defended her right to express herself, despite her position in the Secret Service.
“I serve at the pleasure of the president, but I still have the First Amendment right to say things,” she told the Examiner.