When President Trump takes to the rostrum for his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night, he'll be at the center of a huge security operation.
Recognizing the symbolism of America's political, judicial, and military elite gathering in the same pre-announced location at the same time, the Secret Service takes no chances securing the annual event. To start, this means increased security on and around Capitol Hill. Working with the Capitol Police, Washington Metro Police, and others, the Secret Service will secure all possible approaches to Trump.
Moreover, from the moment Trump steps inside of his limousine to leave for the Capitol complex to the moment he steps back into the White House, the president will be surrounded by a moving bubble of layered protection. This bubble is designed to defend Trump against any threats that might pop out of a corridor or side room as he walks past.
That said, this year, Trump's Secret Service detail is likely to remain especially tight at his side.
That's not because of any specific threat, but rather due to the political toxicity of the current "Dreamer" standoff and the incident last October, in which a protester threw pieces of paper at Trump as he visited the Capitol. And with a number of Democratic members of Congress bringing Dreamers to the Hill as their guests, the potential for a misguided publicity stunt or confrontation with Trump is higher than usual.
And while it's less obvious to the public eye, Trump will also be accompanied by the Secret Service even while he's on the floor of the House of Representatives. After all, members of Congress can't entirely be trusted with the president's security!
This isn't, however, a security arrangement specific to Trump. As the photos below show (I've circled the agent in green), during a speech in Congress, a Secret Service agent – normally the agent in charge of the presidential protective division – will watch the president closely from off to one side. And following the address, the agent will shadow the president as he shakes hands with members.
This measured presence balances the ceremonial pomp of the event with unobtrusive security, but in a manner that allows the Secret Service to quickly reach the president if so needed.
Still, if worse comes to worst, someone else will be ready to replace Trump and, if necessary, return nuclear fire against our enemy.
Assigned a temporary Secret Service detail and likely alongside the Vice Chiefs of Staff of the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy, top intelligence and law enforcement officials, and a federal judge (to swear him or her in), a designated survivor is always sequestered in a remote location to preserve the continuation of government in very rapid order.