Joe Biden’s dog Commander bites Secret Service agents because they do not smile at the animal enough, a former White House staffer has suggested.
The two-year-old German shepherd has bitten several bodyguards, according to complaints released under freedom of information laws – most recently doing so last week in the White House.
One agent has described the dog as “extremely aggressive”, while another was apparently forced to take cover behind a chair.
Former White House employees have come to Commander’s defence, telling Politico’s West Wing Playbook that secret agents would appear “suspiciously hostile” to a dog.
One former aide suggested the German shepherd may have been put on edge by grim-faced Secret Service members, while other staff would greet it with a smile.
‘Crazy environment for a dog’
“The White House is just a crazy environment for a dog,” another ex-official said.
“There are enormous men with guns acting suspiciously hostile everywhere.”
Commander bit or behaved aggressively towards 10 Secret Service agents between October 2022 and March 2023, according to freedom of information requests.
There were no more reported incidents until last month, when a bodyguard was given medical assistance by White House personnel after being bitten.
In November 2022, a member of the uniformed division was taken to hospital in “considerable” pain when Commander bit him in the arm and thigh.
Jill Biden, the First Lady, was described as being unable to control the young dog as it apparently charged at an agent while on a walk in the Kennedy Garden.
Another encounter took place at the Bidens’ Delaware home, when a technical security investigator was bitten when he responded to an alarm that had been triggered.
Elizabeth Arnold, a spokesman for the First Lady, has previously said the White House could be a “stressful environment” and that the Bidens were working “on ways to help Commander handle the often unpredictable nature of the White House grounds”.
She added: “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.”
Major, an older German shepherd also owned by the Bidens, was sent to live with relations in 2021 when it bit a Secret Service agent.
Some White House staffers are apparently taking bets on how long it will be before Commander suffers the same fate.