Commander Biden Said ACAB

Joe Biden's German Shepherd apparently only bites Secret Service agents. Maybe they should try smiling at him.

Commander Biden Said ACAB
President Biden’s dog Commander sits on the Truman Balcony at the White House in Washington, D.C., September 30, 2023. Photo:SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty (Getty Images)

Since July, President Joe Biden’s dog, Commander, has made headlines for reportedly acting aggressively toward Secret Service staffers at least 11 times, including nine bites. The intrepid reporters at Politico Playbook have presented a compelling theory for what’s going on: To the German Shepherd, the Secret Service agents look like threats. And given some reporting about Biden’s thoughts on the agents, Commander might be right!

The “biting incidents” have occurred both at the White House and the president’s home in Delaware and, in one instance, an officer was hospitalized after the dog clamped down on their arms and thighs. The first 10 Commander incidents became public in July after the conservative group Judicial Watch obtained Secret Service emails through Freedom of Information Act requests. The emails detailed two aggressive incidents and eight bites, two of which were described as “playful” or “friendly.” (So, CNN reporting on a bite last week is actually the 9th chomp, not the 11th as they claim.)

But Politico spoke to White House staffers who are perplexed by the headlines because they say people in the West Wing love the dog, who they described as very friendly and accepting of ear scritches. Politico writes, under the perfect headline “Commander’s taste buds,” that some staff believe the dog “only has an appetite for the Secret Service.”

Why might that be? They think it’s because the agents are often big, serious dudes with guns who don’t light up at the sight of a dog:

“It’s shocking that he can be so aggressive,” said another White House staffer. “I’ve never seen him like that.”
Indeed, the wild discrepancy in Commander’s behavior has left White House staffers past and present trying to come up with theories about it.
“The White House is just a crazy environment for a dog,” said a former White House official. “There are enormous men with guns acting suspiciously hostile everywhere.”
Another former staffer suggested that it could have a lot to do with facial expressions. Dogs are very reactive to humans and when staff greet Commander, it’s usually with a big smile. That’s not the case for Secret Service agents, who tend to be less warm and fuzzy while on the job.
That theory would also explain why Commander is not the first of Biden’s dogs to go after Secret Service agents.

Biden’s brother James gave him the puppy as a birthday gift after Major Biden, another German Shepherd, got sent to live with family friends following his own Bad Dog press cycle. (No, “additional training” didn’t help him adjust to life at the White House.) A person close to the Bidens said the couple didn’t feel like they could turn down the gift.

Politico didn’t mention a recent book that claimed Biden doesn’t fully trust all of his Secret Service detail since some of the agents were “MAGA sympathizers.” (Many agents are ex-cops and dozens of agents deleted text messages sent the day of the Jan. 6 insurrection.) Biden even reportedly questioned the agents’ reporting of Major’s biting episode in March 2021.

Now, apparently, some staffers and reporters are taking literal bets on how long Commander will get to stick around, with some thinking he’ll get the boot by Thanksgiving. “We do wonder how much longer they can keep him around,” a White House staffer said. “At a certain point, it becomes impossible.”

I humbly suggest that before sending yet another dog away the Secret Service agents should try smiling at Commander while asking “Who’s a good boy?”

Unless or until the dog starts attacking people who aren’t carrying guns, my stance is: Commander Innocent.

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