Ever since President William McKinley was assassinated in 1901, the Secret Service has protected the president of the United States and his family. Their job is to provide security for the president at all times. In fact, these agents are trained to jump in front of any physical threat. As such, they can be regarded as a shield around the leader of the free world.
But what about some more literal protection? What about body armor? Does the US president wear a bulletproof vest or any sort of similar bullet-resistant protection?
Until recently, under normal circumstances, no US president has been reported to wear a concealed bulletproof vest. The “normal circumstances” include regular public addresses, visits to other domestic or foreign politicians, and similar situations.
Of course, when visiting troops overseas or during a scenario that involves a high terror threat, things are different. In such cases, American presidents have been known to wear protective vests, often not even concealed.
But what about the current administration?
Does Trump Wear Body Armor?
Opinions regarding President Trump vary greatly. While Trump’s popularity is extreme, no one can deny that he has disrupted quite a few norms. Although he’s provided with a full-on Secret Service detail, the Trumps have been known to make requests that push this safety enforcement organization beyond limits never seen before.
No one can say for sure whether and when the president is wearing body armor, except for instances where it’s apparent (the previous visits to troops overseas, for example).
However, it was reported that Trump wore a ballistic vest during campaign rallies before he was elected. Some reports have even stated that the bulletproof vest left Trump exhausted after long speeches. No wonder, considering that body armor weighs between five and twenty pounds.
So, it’s not that far-fetched to say that Trump is probably wearing a bulletproof vest to at least some of his public appearances. But again, no one can say for sure.
Obama’s bullet-resistant Suit
At his inaugural speech back in 2009, many reports speculated that Barack Obama was wearing a specially designed suit by the famous Colombian designer, Miguel Caballero. Caballero is widely known for producing incredibly tough clothes that are both business-appropriate, flexible, and comfortable.
Trump and future presidents will likely be wearing this type of Suit. Although it can provide peace of mind and protection, a suit like this can’t be considered in the same category as a bulletproof vest because the Suit would only be able to stop a 9mm bullet. Any larger caliber bullet (for example, from a sniper rifle) would likely cut through the material.
With that said, Caballero’s clothing can absorb at least six .357 Magnum or 9mm rounds to the back and just as many to the chest. Some of Caballero garments claim to offer even more protection.
All of this, of course, is speculation. It might be the case that no US president has ever worn such a bullet-resistant suit.
Why the President Likely Wears a Bulletproof Vest
The Secret Service has never confirmed that any president has ever worn a bulletproof vest – nor are they likely to do so. However, we live in uncertain times. All US presidents have had detractors among American citizens in peacetime and wartime alike. However, passions are currently very high surrounding the president and his family. Suppose Trump really did wear a ballistic vest during his rallies. In that case, chances are that he has an even greater incentive to do so now that he’s president.
The Caballero suit is also a likely part of Trump’s public attire. It’s a small price to pay for additional safety, and the Secret Service is always more than happy to further assist when providing protection to the president.
Seeing how Trump has gone through the trouble of ensuring maximum protection for his $1.5 million limo, he probably wouldn’t mind wearing a bulletproof vest during public addresses.
Trump’s Cadillac XT6 limo boasts a mix of aluminum, steel, and ceramics for protection. Each of these metals is designed to repel a different type of threat. The limo’s walls are believed to be at least eight inches in thickness, and the weight of the entire vehicle is around 20,000 pounds. Trump’s limo offers protection against biochemical attacks, as well. The run-flat tires and the extra-large wells ensure that the vehicle can remain functional in most scenarios.
With these protective safety features and other additions like the night vision system, and bags of Trump’s blood type, plus a fully-equipped medical station inside, Trump’s limo is impervious to a wide variety of dangers.
If Trump is prepared to approve an order for an entire fleet of these limos (he’s said to have authorized more than $15 million on these vehicles), he’s probably more than willing to compromise his comfort when he’s outside of the limo.
Do Secret Service Agents Wear Body Armor?
In contrast to the president, it’s common knowledge that Secret Service agents wear a ballistic vest underneath their clothes as standard issues. These vests aren’t used solely for the agents’ protection – they prevent a high-caliber bullet (for instance, from a sniper rifle) from going through the body of a Secret Service agent and into the president.
However, the vests that the agents wear aren’t too heavy or thick, as they need to be able to move and react quickly in case of an emergency. Keep in mind that the Secret Service has a single primary goal in case of an emergency – get the president (primary) and his family members (secondary) to safety as quickly as possible.
The President and His Protection
Although no one can confirm with any degree of certainty, it’s more than likely that the United States’ current president wears body armor during his public appearances. It’s also more than likely that the president wears a bullet-resistant suit, as well.
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