One of the Secret Service agents on Michelle Obama‘s detail when she was first lady says Mrs. Obama was the target of “shockingly racist” actions during her husband’s two terms in the White House, writing in a new book that people could “say whatever they wanted so long as there was no imminent threat of harm.”
Becoming Bulletproof, written by 12-year Secret Service veteran Evy Poumpouras, details life as an agent in the presidential protective division for Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Obama.
The book also goes into detail about what it was like protecting Mrs. Obama, who Poumpouras says was at times subject to harsh criticism when out in public.
“As the first Black First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Obama had to withstand certain kinds of disparagement that none of her predecessors ever faced,” Poumpouras writes in an excerpt published by Insider this week. “I was on her protective detail when we were driving to a school to deliver a speech; we passed someone on a bridge holding up a shockingly racist sign directed at her.”
Poumpouras continues in the book: “I remember feeling outraged — after all, it was part of our job to protect the first family mentally as well as physically. But if the First Lady saw the sign, she gave no indication of it.”
Speaking to Insider, the former agent said that she “could do nothing” when it came to protecting Mrs. Obama, 57, from racist language.
“There’s freedom of speech in the United States, and even if I personally feel that speech is wrong, the law doesn’t give me the power to take that person’s speech away,” she said, later adding: “They could say whatever they wanted so long as there was no imminent threat of harm.”
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SOURCE: PEOPLE, Virginia Chamlee