Proponents of the notion that there are no bad dogs, only bad owners may have found support for their argument at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to the chagrin of a victimized Secret Service detail.
President Joe Biden may have an affinity for German Shepherds, but as the public saw within the first year of his administration, Major’s apparent lack of training made him a liability. After getting replaced in Dec. 2021 amidst numerous reports of biting incidents, second-string pooch Commander has proven just as dangerous and “would already have been put down” had he a different owner.
Tuesday, Judicial Watch released its findings from 194 pages of records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that detailed 10 separate attacks involving the German Shepherd between the White House and Biden’s Delaware residence, biting seven people in a span of four months.
The organization’s request submitted on Jan. 4, 2023, sought, “any and all records related to incidents of aggression and bites involving the Biden family dog, ‘Commander,'” from Dec. 14, 2021, through the present.
One such incident was detailed in heavily redacted emails from early Nov. 2022. On Nov. 3, a report read, “Commander bite [sic] UD [Uniform Division] officer [redacted] at post [redacted] two times, one time in the upper right arm and a second bite on the officer’s thigh. WH [White House] medical treated the officer and made the decision to have [redacted] transported to [redacted] Hospital.”
A follow-up email the next day detailed the attack where the victim had been seated with arms crossed at a desk when Commander and his usher came down the stairs. The dog was said to walk to the officer where he bit the man on the tricep, causing him to stand in an attempt to back away. At that point Commander bit the officer on the leg and the man had to use a “steel cart” to protect himself from further attacks.
“Doing alright [redacted]?” asked an officer to the victim in a Nov. 5, 2022 email exchange. “That’s freaking crazy that stupid dog — rolling my eyes [redacted].”
In reply, the victim wrote, “My leg and arm still hurts. He bit me twice and ran at me twice.”
“What a joke [redacted] — if it wasn’t their dog he would already have been put down — freaking clown needs a muzzle,” the officer said to the victim, “hope you get to feeling better [redacted].”
Commander had been a replacement for the president after Major had been “given to family friends” after another FOIA request had found the dog had been involved in a series of biting incidents with Secret Service agents eight days in a row.
A March 8, 2021 email read in part, “at the current rate an Agent or Officer has been bitten every day this week…causing damage to attire or bruising/punctures to the skin.”
— BizPac Review (@BIZPACReview) April 15, 2022
In Dec. 2022, Commander reportedly attacked a member of the president’s security detail when Biden let him off leash.
“The injuries included a bite to the left forearm resulting in bruising and approximately a 1 1/2 cm cut and a bite to the right hand on the thumb resulting a 1 cm cut. I received treatment from White House Medical from LTC [redacted]. The injuries were [redacted] and I returned to work the rest of my shift,” the documents revealed.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, released his own statement in response to the FOIA report that read, “These shocking records raise fundamental questions about President Biden and the Secret Service. This is a special sort of craziness and corruption where a president would allow his dog to repeatedly attack and bite Secret Service and White House personnel. And rather than protect its agents, the Secret Service tried to illegally hide documents about the abuse of its agents and officers by the Biden family.”
Despite the list of incidents that included a hospital visit, Jill Biden’s communications director Elizabeth Alexander defended the canine-in-chief in a statement to the press: “The White House complex is a unique and often stressful environment for family pets, and the First Family is working through ways to make this situation better for everyone. They have been partnering with the Secret Service and Executive Residence staff on additional leashing protocols and training, as well as establishing designated areas for Commander to run and exercise.”
Similarly, U.S. Secret Service Chief of Communications Anthony Guglielmi downplayed the incidents, “For the past several Presidential administrations, the Secret Services has navigated how to best operate around family pets and these incidents are no exception. We take the safety and wellbeing of our employees extremely seriously. Agency employees are encouraged to report any job-related injuries to their immediate supervisors for appropriate documentation.”
“As such,” he continued without details, seemingly supporting Fitton’s allegations of corruption, “we are aware of past incidents involving first-family pets and these instances were treated similarly to comparable workplace injuries, to include with relevant notifications and reporting procedures followed. While special agents and officers neither care for nor handle the first family’s pets, we continuously work with all applicable entities to minimize adverse impacts in an environment that includes pets.”
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