Donald Trump’s campaign is facing a mounting security bill from his rallies with a dedicated team employed to remove protesters – and stop his supporters from showing QAnon signs, DailyMail.com can disclose.
The cash-strapped campaign has contracted with a Washington D.C.-based agency, which mostly employs veterans, to provide security at the raucous events.
The bill is one example of the unusual spending by the campaign, which has seen it blow $1 billion but still leave him behind in the polls to Joe Biden.
Extensive security bills are unusual for a presidential campaign, particularly of an incumbent president.
In line with decades of tradition, both Trump and Biden are guarded by the Secret Service.
But Trump’s rallies have created new challenges which the Secret Service cannot deal with.
They do not remove protesters unless they are a danger to the president’s physical wellbeing, and they do not police what Trump’s supporters wear or the signs they wave.
In recent weeks, the Trump campaign has banned supporters from wearing clothing or showing signs which suggest support for QAnon, which has to be policed at the outdoor rally sites.
The threat of protests and the QAnon ban has made Colorado Security a high profile presence at the president’s rallies.
Colorado Security Agency’s main duty is to serve as an extension of the campaign staff and uninvite hecklers and protesters, a person familiar with the process told DailyMail.com
A member of the Colorado Security Team (in the gray polo and black mask) stands in front of the stage where President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Lumberton, North Carolina, on Saturday
Two members of the Colorado Security Agency at a Trump rally as posted on the company’s Instagram stories
The security team also keeps out Q signs, like the one above at a Trump rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., in August 2018
The declared spending for the agency is so far $1.3 million from the Trump campaign, according to Federal Election Commission reports.
The Colorado Security Agency team is highly visible at the president’s events.
They are all tall and buff – mostly male – with military buzz cuts. They wear the same dark polo shirt – usually gray or black – with the company insignia, black pants and boots. Several of them have tattoos visible on their arms. In the COVID era, most of them wear face masks. Some wear gloves.
During a rally, they roam the crowd to deal with any incident – ranging from protesters yelling at the president to helping people who feel ill. Some team members stand in the area in front of the stage, a few feet from President Trump as he speaks.
They move in quickly whenever a protester starts shouting at the president or waving a sign, hustling the person or persons from the venue.
The Secret Service handles the president’s personal protection but the private security team handles the protesters and will bring in local law enforcement when needed.
The company’s main duty is to serve as an extension of the campaign staff and remove hecklers and protesters, a person familiar with the process told DailyMail.com.
If the hecklers or protesters refuse to leave, the Colorado Security team must seek the assistance of local law enforcement, the person added.
Colorado Security Agency has posted photos of its team members at work on its Instagram page and stories
A member of the Colorado Security Agency stands at the entrance to a Trump rally in North Carolina, telling supporters not to bring in QAnon signs
Security team members removes Black Lives Matter protesters from President Trump’s rally in Jacksonville, Florida, in late September
Members of Colorado Security Agency get a briefing before a Trump rally in October 2019, where the caption says they are learning how to ‘get it done Secret Service style’
With his private security force, Trump can wave away the protesters with a brush of his hand, adding to his image of the ‘law and order’ president as he likes to tout himself.
The Secret Service doesn’t handle protesters unless they are a direct threat to the president, a member of President Obama’s advance team told DailyMail.com, meaning without the private security force, Trump would have to listen to any heckling unless it became a threat.
The private security teams do not appear to be armed, at least from DailyMail.com’s observation of them during campaign events, but their size and strength mean the protesters are little match for them.
They also help keep out QAnon believers. Believers in the far right conspiracy theory – which centers on pedophiles running a global child sex-trafficking ring while plotting against Trump – had been seen at Trump rallies holding up signs reading ‘We are Q.’
In the past few months there have been fewer Q spottings. A member of the Colorado Security team was seen by NBC News telling supporters at a Trump rally in North Carolina last week not to bring any QAnon signs inside.
‘No signs, no e-cigarettes, no vapes, no pocket knives, no clothing with any obscenities, no QAnon signs,’ the member of the Colorado Security Agency yelled as supporters entered the rally site.
One of Colorado Security’s responsibilities at the rallies is to work with the crowd before they enter the venue to ensure they are not bringing any items into the event which are prohibited by the Trump 2020 campaign, a person familiar with the arrangement told DailyMail.com.
The team also helps with other incidents. At the president’s rally in Lumberton, North Carolina, on Saturday, an elderly woman got over heated in the 80 degree weather. A member of the security team helped medical personnel reach her and then escorted them out through the crowd.
The Trump campaign did not respond to repeated requests for comment about the private security team.
And the teams aren’t just for the president. Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Trump campaign adviser and girlfriend to Donald Trump Jr., had some of the security guards with her at a Woman for Trump event in Pennsylvania in September, according to pictures posted to her Instagram.
Colorado Security Agency, formed in 1974, offers an array of security packages, including protection for executives, guard services, security assessments and embassy security, according to its website.
Costs are not listed.
The Trump campaign has paid the firm about $1.338 million since June of 2019, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
A member of the Colorado Security team (in black polo and face mask) stands in front of the stage as President Donald Trump addresses a campaign rally in The Villages, Florida, on Friday
A member of the Colorado Security Agency is visible behind Kimberly Guilfoyle when she hosted a Women for Trump event in Pennsylvania in September
Two members of the Colorado Security Agency are seen on the company’s social media page
It’s unclear what package the Trump campaign is paying for but the top level of protection available – the CSA Elite team – is composed of people with backgrounds in the US Secret Service, US Capitol Police, US Navy, US Army, US Marine Corps and other elite government agencies, the company’s website says.
To be a member of CSA’s elite team, a person must have at least 6 years experience – 10 if armed – in the U.S. military, or in federal, state, or local law enforcement. Combat experience counts as double, the agency notes.
The person also must meet physical requirements, including:
- Run 1.5 miles in 12:00 minutes or less
- Do 45 push ups in one minute
- Perform 45 sit ups in one minute
- Carry a 120 pound sandbag up two flights of stairs
- Have a fit appearance
- No visible tattoos below the wrist bone or above the collar
The private security force keeps the president from having to face the boos and shouts like he faced at the Supreme Court last month when he and first lady Melania Trump paid their respects to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
‘Vote him out,’ the crowd yelled and booed at Trump while he stood at Ginsburg’s coffin.
A spokesperson for Colorado Security says the company prides itself on discretion and declined to comment about its role with the president, saying the company doesn’t talk about their client assignments.
On the company’s Instagram account and company Facebook page, both of which are public, there are several photos of their work, including at Trump rallies.
The company’s Instagram stories this week has been filled with photos of the security staff at Trump events. The campaign has scheduled multiple rallies a day in the run up to November 3.
The teams are hard to miss at Trump’s campaign events – present where there is any large gathering of people.
Nearly two dozen of these guards were deployed to a Trump rally last October, according to a photo posted on Colorado Security’s Facebook page, where the caption read the team – who was standing in a circle receiving a briefing – was learning how to ‘get it done Secret Service style.’
There have been fewer protesters in the final week of the campaign, since the president returned to the campaign trail after his recovery from COVID-19.
But at Trump’s rally in Middletown, Pennsylvania in late September, the security team removed a protester as the president led the crowd in cheering the man out.
‘That guy he’s going home to his parents now. He’s going to be in big trouble,’ Trump said as the protester was removed.
And, at the president’s rally in Jacksonville, Florida, late last month, a group wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts were removed from the event before Trump arrived. A few more protesters were escorted out during the president’s remarks.
‘You know the incredible thing about that is I didn’t hear anything except our crowd,’ Trump said of them.
His supporters usually yell ‘USA, USA, USA’ as the protesters are escorted out.
And, at Trump’s rally in Henderson, Nevada, in September, two of the men removed a protester as soon as that person started shouting at the president.
Trump rarely interacts with his protesters at his events.
His reaction to the heckling varies, depending on the situation. Sometimes he simply waves and points, letting the private security force remove them from the venue. Other times he turns his back and steps away from the podium until the matter is handled. And, at times, he’ll make a comment as the protester is removed, such as they are being sent home to their mother.
Colorado Security also has a contract with the Republican National Committee, where it’s been paid almost $1 million this year, according to FEC filings.
Its teams provide security at party headquarters, field offices, and member meetings, according to a RNC spokesperson. But the party and the campaign does not split security costs for the rallies, the person said.
It’s unusual for a president to have a private security force but it is common for presidential campaigns to hire private security for their candidate when they are a contender for the nomination.
For example, Joe Biden’s campaign hired private security during the Democratic primary process but he received Secret Service protection once he locked up the nomination.
The Biden campaign paid Universal Security Specialists $10,551 in December and February for ‘security,’ according to its FEC filings.
It’s likely the Democratic nominee had higher security costs during his primary campaign when security was with him at every campaign event.
But those security members wore suits and ties – similar to Secret Service agents – and provided physical security for Biden.