An ex-Secret Service officer’s behind-the-scenes tell-all about Hillary Clinton — accusing her of swearing and even throwing a Bible at her protectors while in the White House — could raise questions about her temperament and cast doubt about her claim to be the champion of the working class if she mistreats the very agents willing to take a bullet for her, observers say.
“It does raise some questions about this populist image she’s always attempted to present,” said Dennis Hale, a political science professor at Boston College. “Her behavior toward people who aren’t already in her orbit is going to be an issue.
“How’s she going to treat members of Congress? How’s she going to treat the opposition? How is she going to treat staffers who are just employees? All that sort of stuff gives her a kind of character problem of her own.”
“Crisis of Character,” written by Gary J. Byrne, a former Secret Service uniformed officer who claims to have been the “last barrier” before Monica Lewinsky saw Bill Clinton outside the Oval Office, contends that being assigned to Hillary “was a form of punishment handed down by passive-aggressive middle management,” according to Breitbart News, which obtained excerpts.
Clinton once threw a Bible at the back of an agent’s head and told others to “Go f– yourself” and “Go to hell!,” according to the Breitbart account.
The expose, set for release Tuesday, is already the No. 1 best-seller on Amazon. The Clinton campaign has dismissed the tome as “fantasy.” But Ronald Kessler, a former investigative reporter for The Washington Post and Boston Herald — who has written his own book about the Secret Service, “The First Family Detail” — backed up many of Byrne’s accusations.
“I think it’s right on,” Kessler told the Herald. “It has to do with her character, the hypocrisy of someone who claims to help the country and yet she can’t bring herself to treat other human beings who are less powerful than she is with respect and dignity. Someone like that can really get out of control once they get in the White House. They have all that power and they become even more arrogant.”
Kessler’s book claimed the Hillary Clinton detail is the worst assignment in the Secret Service.
“She would actually, even recently, tell agents she didn’t want to see them when they were at events,” said Kessler. “She literally wanted them to hide behind curtains.”
Clinton has tried to portray Donald Trump as a “loose cannon” in interviews, but Byrne’s new book may actually give the presumptive GOP nominee evidence to turn the insult around on her. The Trump campaign fired off a press release yesterday saying the book provides “countless examples of Clinton not having the composure to handle the rigors of the Oval Office.”
While many traditional media outlets have been reluctant to cover the book so far, Trump may force their hand if he hammers away at it during his televised rallies.
“It certainly gives him some ammunition and information to use against her and he undoubtedly will do so repeatedly,” said Tim Hagle, a political science professor at the University of Iowa.
“It’s possible Trump is willing and able to use that in ways that other candidates have been hesitant to do,” Hagle said. “That was the complaint against Mitt Romney and John McCain — that they didn’t fight hard enough.”
But other observers noted that the allegations are decades old and are unlikely to change minds that by now have already been made up about the Clintons.
“I think it’s a reaffirming book for people who hate her,” said Garrison Nelson, a University of Vermont professor, “and will be pretty much ignored by the people who don’t hate her.”
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