Dog’s aggressive behavior has not been disclosed by White House
By Kyle Morris
President Biden’s dog, Commander – the 2-year-old German shepherd that replaced former first dog Major over aggressive behavior – bit seven people in a four-month period, according to a new report.
One of the more serious incidents involving Commander, according to internal Secret Service communications first reported by the New York Post, led to the White House physician’s office referring a Secret Service officer to the hospital for treatment on Nov. 3, 2022, after the officer was bitten by the dog on the thigh and arm.
Other emails released under the Freedom of Information Act to conservative legal group Judicial Watch revealed that Commander had broken the skin of another Secret Service member’s hand and arm just weeks later after Biden removed his leash outside the White House following a family movie night. In January, Commander bit and “latched on” to a security technician’s back at Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware.
“These shocking records raise fundamental questions about President Biden and the Secret Service,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, according to the outlet. “This is a special sort of craziness and corruption where a president would allow his dog to repeatedly attack and bite Secret Service and White House personnel. And rather than protect its agents, the Secret Service tried to illegally hide documents about the abuse of its agents and officers by the Biden family.”
In October 2022, a Secret Service officer emailed colleagues, warning that it was only a matter of time before the Biden’s pet bit an officer.
“Commander has been exhibiting extremely aggressive behavior,” the officer wrote on Oct. 26.
The most serious incident involving Commander occurred on Nov. 3, 2022, when a Secret Service officer was seated at the bottom of a stairwell at the White House.
The dog “came down the stairs and walked toward” the officer, according to an internal agency email, before he bit the officer’s arm on the triceps area. When the officer stood up, Commander bit down on the quad muscle area of the officer’s leg.
One officer stated that the attack victim reported “a considerable amount of pain” and used a steel cart to shield himself from the dog’s attack.
Two days after the incident took place, the officer who was attacked emailed a colleague who asked about their recovery, writing, “My leg and arm still hurts. He bit me twice and ran at me twice.”
The inquiring colleague responded, “What a joke … if it wasn’t their dog he would already have been put down – freaking clown needs a muzzle.”
Several other incidents involving Commander were also noted in the report highlighting the emails, including some that directly involved members of the first family.
While first lady Jill Biden walked Commander in the Kennedy Garden near the East Wing of the White House, the dog bit a Secret Service uniformed officer on the left high, causing “bruising, tenderness and pain in the bite area,” according to communications reported by the New York Post.
Four days later, on Nov. 14, another officer noted in an email that he had to defend himself from the dog with a chair.
The officer said he “heard the dog bark with a loud aggressive sound” and “looked up and saw him at the landing of the ushers staircase. I made eye contact with him and grabbed the black chair I was sitting on and held it in front of me while backing up.”
“For the past several Presidential administrations, the Secret Services has navigated how to best operate around family pets and these incidents are no exception. We take the safety and wellbeing of our employees extremely seriously,” Anthony Guglielmi, U.S. Secret Service chief of communications said in a statement to Fox.
“Agency employees are encouraged to report any job-related injuries to their immediate supervisors for appropriate documentation. As such, we are aware of past incidents involving first-family pets and these instances were treated similarly to comparable workplace injuries, to include with relevant notifications and reporting procedures followed. While special agents and officers neither care for nor handle the first family’s pets, we continuously work with all applicable entities to minimize adverse impacts in an environment that includes pets,” Guglielmi said.
Following the Post’s report, Elizabeth Alexander, who serves as communications director for the first lady, told Fox that the Bidens are working on “additional leashing protocols and training” for Commander.
“The White House complex is a unique and often stressful environment for family pets, and the First Family is working through ways to make this situation better for everyone. They have been partnering with the Secret Service and Executive Residence staff on additional leashing protocols and training, as well as establishing designated areas for Commander to run and exercise,” Alexander said. “According to the Secret Service, each incident referenced was treated similarly to comparable workplace injuries, with relevant notifications and reporting procedures followed. The President and First Lady are incredibly grateful to the Secret Service and Executive Residence staff for all they do to keep them, their family, and the country safe.”
The string of attacks from Commander – ranging from September 2022 to January 2023 – came after Biden’s former dog, Major, was ousted from the White House over similar behavior.
In early 2021, shortly after Biden’s tenure in the White House started, Major bit someone at the White House, causing a “minor injury,” then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed to reporters. Major was subsequently sent to live at Biden’s Delaware home before he returned.
Two weeks after the incident, Biden announced Major would be returning to the White House, insisting that “he’s a sweet dog” and that “85% of the people there love him.”
Upon his return, Major was involved in another incident involving a White House employee who sought medical attention. The encounter took place on the White House South Lawn. CNN first reported the bite, adding that the employee worked for the National Park Service.
First lady Jill Biden’s then-press secretary Michael de Rosa confirmed the dog had “nipped” someone in a statement to Fox News at the time, saying, “Major is still adjusting to his new surroundings and he nipped someone while on a walk. Out of an abundance of caution, the individual was seen by WHMU and then returned to work without injury.”
The Post reported in August 2021 that Major had “attacked many more people than the White House has disclosed,” with the outlet noting that he “bit members of the Secret Service eight days in a row in early March – though only one such incident was publicly acknowledged.”
The outlet, based on emails released by Judicial Watch, noted that at least one visitor at the White House was bitten in March 2021.
“We’re sure Major is a good dog, but these records show he was involved in many more biting incidents than the Biden White House has publicly acknowledged,” Fitton said at the time. “It is disturbing to see a White House cover-up of numerous injuries to Secret Service and White House personnel by the Bidens’ family pet.”
Major was later relocated from the White House to reportedly be cared for by friends of the Biden family.
It is unclear whether Commander has been involved in any other incident since January 2023 or upon his arrival to the White House, which came nine months prior to the first documented incident in the emails revealed Tuesday.
Morgan Phillips and the Associated Press contributed to this report.