A U.S. Secret Service agent is under investigation after it was reported that she posted Facebook comments in 2016 saying she would rather go to jail than risk her life protecting Donald Trump.
The Washington Examiner identified the agent as 46-year-old Kerry O’Grady, an agent in the Denver field office, and according to the New York Times, the Secret Service said it would take “quick and appropriate action” to address the remarks O’Grady posted in October, before Trump was elected president.
In her comments, O’Grady referred to her “struggle” not to violate the Hatch Act, which prohibits political activity by federal employees, and she indicated her support for Hillary Clinton.
“As a public servant for nearly 23 years, I struggle not to violate the Hatch Act,” O’Grady wrote. “So I keep quiet and skirt the median. 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. Hatch Act be damned. I’m with her,” she added.
The Times reports that in later comments, O’Grady backed the women’s marches in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21. While the posts have since been removed, the Examiner captured screenshots of them.
An email from the Secret Service on Wednesday said that while it does not comment on personnel matters, it was “aware of the postings and the agency is taking quick and appropriate action.”
“All Secret Service agents and employees are held to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct,” the email continued. “Any allegations of misconduct are taken seriously and swiftly investigated.”
There was no indication as to what specific action the agency might take.
The primary mission of the Secret Service is to protect the president, vice president and their immediate family members as well as other high-level elected leaders, including foreign leaders visiting the United States. Former presidents are protected for life, and their children are protected up until the age of 16.
According to the Times, O’Grady is a special agent responsible for the Secret Service’s investigative, intelligence and protective missions throughout Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.
In a phone interview with the Examiner Monday, she said that she would not “shirk” her duties to protect the president.
“It was an internal struggle for me, but as soon as I put it up, I thought it was not the sentiment that I needed to share because I care very deeply about the mission,” she said.
O’Grady said that in one post she was reacting to Trump’s comments on women in the 2005 Access Hollywood video.
“But I recognize that the agency is the most important thing to me. My government is the most important thing to me,” she said. “But I still have the First Amendment right to say things.”
O’Grady’s Facebook account could not be located Wednesday.