For a guy so obsessed with border security, Donald Trump is remarkably glib about the security protocols at other important American venues. Namely, the White House and Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private Florida club where he has spent dozens of nights meeting with foreign leaders and hobnobbing with supporters.
Two separate stories this week paint a picture of an administration rife with security breaches, and a president who, at best, shrugs his shoulders at them, and at worst, is the reason they exist.
In Washington, D.C., there is the burgeoning scandal surrounding White House security clearances, and a whistle-blower’s claim that the administration has overridden more than two dozen security clearance denials in the past two years. These are people whose contacts with foreign governments and personal business interests, among other issues, led the White House Personnel Office to deny applications for security clearance. Now, because of intervention on behalf of the president and his staffers, some of these people have access to sensitive national security information. That two of the people at the center of this scandal are Trump’s daughter and son-in-law only makes it worse.
Meanwhile, down in South Florida, another national security scandal is coming into focus. Last weekend, a woman from China identified as Yujing Zhang, was arrested after she tried to sneak into Mar-a-Lago with four cell phones, a hard drive, and a flash drive infected with malware. Now, the FBI is investigating the possibility that the security breach was an effort at espionage.
This incident has led to broader criticisms of the security procedures at the club, where Secret Service agents must balance the responsibilities of their job with Trump’s desire to make sure paying customers are always flowing through the doors.
And you know that if Republicans spend 2020 pretending to care about the Democratic candidate’s compliance with information security best practices, the media would be right back in the saddle.