An Entry for “Dictatorship for Dummies”

Trump will maintain some level of private security once in office.

Trump Nixon VI have a running joke in some of my classes that I should write a book called Dictatorship for Dummies where I could catalog key advice for aspiring authoritarians.  For example:  the best way to protect and defend the constitution is to put it into a desk drawer for safekeeping (using it just risks more damage!) and, of course, always put your brother in charge of the military.  Another typical move is to have your own security forces–after all, who can trust an institutional force?

Cue the following Politico:  Trump private security force ‘playing with fire’

President-elect Donald Trump has continued employing a private security and intelligence team at his victory rallies, and he is expected to keep at least some members of the team after he becomes president, according to people familiar with the plans.

[…]

Trump — who puts a premium on loyalty and has demonstrated great interest in having forceful security at his events — has opted to maintain an aggressive and unprecedented private security force, led by Keith Schiller, a retired New York City cop and Navy veteran who started working for Trump in 1999 as a part-time bodyguard, eventually rising to become his head of security.

[…]

In interviews with about a dozen people who interact with Trump, they said even as the president-elect’s Secret Service detail has expanded significantly since the election, he remains most comfortable with Schiller and his team. A native of New Paltz, New York, and father of two, Schiller has been director of security for The Trump Organization since 2004.

The Trump associates say Schiller is expected to become a personal White House aide who would serve as the incoming president’s full-time physical gatekeeper…

I am trying not to engage in hyperbole when describing the Trump administration, but actions like this are yet another in an endless stream of behaviors that make Trump look more like an aspiring tin-pot dictator instead of a President-elect of the United States.  He is creating, at least to some degree, private parallels to state institutions.  This is problematic because as president, he is in the public sector as deeply as one can be. This is evidence of even more unraveling of norms and undercutting institutions.  And, of course, nothing screams “democracy” like the phrase “private…intelligence team.”

Further, things like this is more thug-like than statesman-like behavior:

The private security team has been present at each of the seven rallies on Trump’s post-election “Thank You Tour” and has removed protesters — sometimes roughly — at many stops.

That included about a dozen protesters during a rally here on Dec. 9 in a minor-league arena called the Deltaplex, where Trump mostly shrugged off the interruptions until he became impatient with a particularly disruptive protester. “Get ’em out!” the president-elect instructed his private security. That appeared to spur Trump’s security director, Schiller, to venture away from the stage, where he arrived with Trump, and wade deep into the crowd to assist other private security personnel with the removal.

I recommend the entire piece.

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. DrDaveT says:

    This is problematic because as president, he is in the public sector as deeply as one can be.

    If only.

    He is not in the public sector; he is executing a hostile takeover of the public sector. The distinction is not subtle.

  2. SenyorDave says:

    Cue the excuse machine in 3, 2, 1 for the but Obama did this…

    My brother is in sales and used to have the Trump casinos as one of his accounts. He was walking through the casino at Trump Plaza once and the Donald was there with two security guards accompanying him. My brother is 6’2″, 235 lbs, and built pretty solidly. He said that each security guard was about 6’8″” and 300 – 350 lbs, and if he stood behind one you would not have seen him at all. He noticed that the guards made a point of pushing through people, choosing to make a spectacle of Trumps’ movements. All part of his shtick.

  3. CSK says:

    Prof. Taylor, if you do intend to “right a book,” as your first sentence reads, that’s a fairly subtle pun.

    And…don’t all aspiring warlords have their own private armies?

  4. @CSK: Good Lord. I wish it was a pun rather than the brain and fingers not coordinating. Sigh.

  5. MikeSJ says:

    I wonder if this has anything to do with Trumps history of assaulting women?

    He may not want Secret Service agents to testify against him if he keeps up with his past behaviors.

    I’d hope that if the Secret Service saw him attacking a woman they’d intervene to help his victim.

    His own private security? Not so much I’d bet.

  6. al-Alameda says:

    Brown Suits? From the Steve Bannon Agency, no doubt.

  7. C. Clavin says:

    This will make it far easier to gather up intelligence to share with the Russians.
    http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/wwfeatures/wm/live/1280_640/images/live/p0/3v/hv/p03vhv9x.jpg

  8. Ben Wolf says:

    Expect Secret Service budget cuts as prelude to full privatization.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    The Secret Service logs people in and out. Trump won’t like that because how else is he going to do deals that enrich him? He’ll scale the Secret Service back, and keep them away from his emails and phone calls. He’s got a lot of payoffs and bribes to accept over the next four years, (not to mention booty calls) and he’s not going to want evidence to exist.

    You have to admire a careful criminal like Trump – rather than trying to cover it up later, he’s trying a pre-cover-up. He’ll leave office actually being as rich as he pretends to be now, and of course his all-billionaire cabinet will be doing their own looting, because that’s how it works in a banana republic led by a greedy, amoral pig.

  10. gVOR08 says:

    @Ben Wolf: Makes perfect sense. He has no ownership stake or kickback arrangement with the Secret Service.

    Yes, he is an “aspiring tin-pot dictator” and that’s a good thing. His petty thinking, his inability to comprehend the enormity of the situation, could help save us.

    IIRC, the SA and then the SS, which were Party organizations, not Army, provided security for Hitler. Anybody know if Putin has private security?

  11. SenyorDave says:

    @gVOR08: Anybody know if Putin has private security?

    Wouldn’t it be fair to say that Putin is the state? His security is almost by definition private security. Putin is what Trump aspires to.

  12. C. Clavin says:

    He’s already charged you and me millions during his campaign.
    Now he will charge us even more for his own private police farce.
    I wonder how they will be held accountable? If Dumb-Don, as President, cannot have a conflict of interest…can his own private police farce do anything wrong in protecting him?

  13. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Well, since he’s so enamored of private security, I’m sure he won’t mind picking up the bill for the additional security at Trump Tower throughout his administration. NYC could use the money.

  14. S. Fields says:

    This is evidence of even more unraveling of norms and undercutting institutions.

    Trump ran on the central premise that the norms and institutions are the problem – they stand in the way of our greatest.

    This will play like Beethoven to Trump’s faithful.

    As they say, “Trump may be a tin-pot dictator, but he’s OUR tin-pot dictator!”

  15. Moosebreath says:

    “Dictatorship for Dummies”

    My inner Abe Lincoln would change that “Dictatorship of the Dummies, by the Dummies and for the Dummies” (which will hopefully perish from this earth).

  16. CSK says:

    This is the guy some of them think is going to protect and defend the Constitution, as well as abide by it. But I think a lot of the hardcore Trumpkins pay only lip service to that notion. They want a Putin.

  17. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Trump isn’t as intelligent as Putin, unfortunately.

  18. DrDaveT says:

    This is problematic because as president, he is in the public sector as deeply as one can be.

    It occurred to me later that this sentence really is true if you put the rudest possible interpretation on it.

  19. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Of course Trump isn’t as intelligent as Putin. But try telling that to a Trumpkin. They already have him on the side of Mount Rushmore.

  20. CSK says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Are you referring to the pubic sector?

  21. MBunge says:

    A President with a private security force is a bad idea but this is more likely the product of Trump being comfortable with paying for his own security for 30 or 40 years and having no virtually no experience with the Secret Service until well after his campaign had begun and not some scary dictatorial impulse.

    Mike

  22. CSK says:

    @MBunge:

    If that’s true, Mike, it’s just another illustration of how little this guy knows about his job, and how apparently unwilling he is to learn about it. Or, better still, an illustration of how infantile he is: Everything has to be exactly the way he wants it, no matter how inconvenient/impractical/illegal it may be.

    You know the real reason he doesn’t want to travel in Air Force One, don’t you? It says “United States of America” on the side and not “Trump.”

  23. dxq says:

    A friend of mine in the 90’s was 82nd Airborne, and on one of clinton’s visits to Egypt or something he coordinated with the secret service about security, and he got to handle what they (the 90’s, remember) called the FAG Bags. Fast-Action Grab Bag. Lots of guys around the president have them. I said, “What is it?” And he “It’s a black duffel bag with $10,000 cash, a few grenades, and a machine gun. So any of them can grab the president at any time and get the fuck out of Dodge.”

  24. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @CSK: But remember, if Trump flies on his own plane, we’re one SAM away from President Pence, for better or worse. Choose carefully.

  25. CSK says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    Well, it’s not my choice, is it? And look at it this way: If his wife and kid live in the Trump Tower, and he insists on spending most of his time there, he’s creating yet another target-rich environment. Plus a one-million-dollar-a-day charge to the taxpayers just to protect the wife and kid, never mind el presidente.

    Hi might, I suppose reconcile himself to living in the WH if he could put a big gold “Trump” sign on the roof. He’s never lived, flown, floated, or ridden in anything that didn’t have his name plastered on it. Why start now?

  26. Pch101 says:

    @CSK:

    The West Wing addressed this issue, with the wife of the president-elect wanting to stay at the family home in order to give the kids a normal life and to allow them to finish out the school year in a familiar place.

    The difference is that The West Wing had pretend Secret Service agents advising the pretend wife of the pretend Democratic president-elect against it and that advice was heeded once it was made clear that the arrangement would be horribly disruptive for the neighbors. In real life, we have a Republican who not only doesn’t give a s**t about the cost and inconvenience, but who also wants to profit from leasing space to those who have to protect him.

    Moral of the story: We would be better off with a fake presidency than the next real one.

  27. Gustopher says:

    If someone has been surrounded by security for most of their lives, I can see and understand a desire to keep those particular people. So long as they are not exposed to classified information, etc, it’s a spot where one should accommodate the President Elect.

    Are they up to the job? Maybe, maybe not, but there is a reason we have Vice Presidents.

    This is the least troubling thing he has done this week.

  28. Mikey says:

    @Gustopher:

    So long as they are not exposed to classified information, etc, it’s a spot where one should accommodate the President Elect.

    I can state with 100% certainty there will be no possible scenario where they will not be exposed to classified information.

  29. Guarneri says:

    The sky is falling………

  30. @Guarneri:

    The sky is falling………

    Not yet. But we do have the least qualified incoming president of all time who is demonstrating authoritarian tendencies.

    Good times.

  31. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Laissez les bon temps roulez!

  32. Pch101 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But we do have the least qualified incoming president of all time who is demonstrating authoritarian tendencies.

    Guarneri is quite aroused by the authoritarian part of your comment.

  33. KM says:

    @Gustopher :

    If someone has been surrounded by security for most of their lives, I can see and understand a desire to keep those particular people. So long as they are not exposed to classified information, etc, it’s a spot where one should accommodate the President Elect.

    No.

    It’s becoming blatantly obvious that Trump and his family unwilling to change their lifestyle in any way. He’s PRESIDENT – it’s one of the biggest changes you can experience in America in terms of overhauling day to day life. Do you know how many other presidents experienced massive disruptions to their lives and had to accept complete strangers now having a say in their safety? Everyone in modern times – every. damn. one. What makes Trump so special he has to have his own security, fly his own plane, sleep in his own bed, have his kid’s schooling uninterrupted, etc? What makes his comfort paramount that we need to reinvent the wheel so His Orangeness’ special snowflaky self doesn’t suffer a meltdown? He needs to suck it up and do his job.

    It’s not like its a secret the Secret Service protects the President. He knew the terms the deal when he ran. It’s sheer arrogance on his part to think he and he alone is better then the system he chose to be the leader of! If he *really* wants his personal bodyguards then have them apply to be SS and see if they make the cut on their own merits (no favoritism allowed). If they’re good enough, they’ll pass with flying colors and be back by his side shortly. If not, well they weren’t very good guards, now where they?

  34. @KM: Exactly. The man has such a combination of arrogance and ignorance that he doesn’t care or understand what the job is.

    His utter irresponsibility in these matters should be more concerning than it is to many conservatives who ought to know better. I can accept that a lot of everyday voters aren’t really paying attention, but many educated, politically savvy conservatives are showing a lot of willful ignorance at the moment.

  35. Mikey says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    His utter irresponsibility in these matters should be more concerning than it is to many conservatives who ought to know better.

    Conservatives? Ha. They’re carrying Russia’s water now.

  36. KM says:

    @Steven L. Taylor :

    His utter irresponsibility in these matters should be more concerning than it is to many conservatives who ought to know better.

    It’s rather like the parent complaining about ill-manner children in general while ignoring the screaming hellion they spawned in the background. You know, the ones who refuse to admit their kid is disruptive in class, beats up others and would qualify as an extra in Children of the Corn? Deep down inside, you *know* they’re aware of how horrible the brat is but the denial is strong – if the kid is bad, its a reflection on them personally. Self-delusion is a powerful thing: their child is not the problem, you and your “standards” are.

    So Lil’ Donnie gets to run around with matches while Daddy Conservative grumbles about how those librual brats down the street are messing up his lawn and Mommy Republican sighs about how her little angel is the most perfectly behaved and misunderstood boy (not like that nasty Hillary girl). After the house burns down, it will be the system’s fault for not stepping in and giving them the “help” they needed.

  37. grumpy realist says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: I think it would be more appropriate for President Obama to say: “Apres nous, le deluge.”