Tony Ornato, Trump's former Deputy Chief of Staff & current Secret Service Assistant Director needs to be investigated by the House Committee on Homeland Security
June 25, 2021

I’ve been working on a story on how the Trump Campaign spread COVID-19 with their rallies. There is evidence of actions Trump knowingly took that endangered his staff and Secret Service employees. Public health laws were broken, people got sick & died. I believe there needs to be an investigation by state Attorneys General and prosecution for violations. But… as someone pointed out to me on Twitter:


This is an great point and one that I’ve been thinking about how to solve. Who else can be held responsible for intentionally spreading COVID in addition to Trump?

In the excellent podcasts by Noel Casler, he points out that Trump knows how to avoid responsibility. Casler describes how Trump is ALWAYS one level removed from being held accountable. in Episode 15, 15:40 he talks about how Keith Schiller protected Trump. Then at 19 :03 he explains how Trump hires NYPD guys because they can flash a badge and get anyone out of trouble, it’s an unwritten rule of white privilege.

Keith Schiller, deputy assistant to the president and director of Oval Office operations Credit: NBC News Screen Cap

Casler doesn't think Trump will go to prison. Ever. In Episode 16 at 6:00 he talks about how people knew Trump was a sexual predator for decades and he got away with it because he was a wealthy white man and nobody wanted to ruffle feathers. The company might be bankrupted but if no one can bust him for his violent sexual assaults, rape and sex trafficking they aren't going to send him to jail for tax fraud.

His description of Keith Schiller and what he did for Trump reminded me of something Carol Leonnig said on her book tour. Trump took Tony Ornato, the head of his Secret Service detail, and made him Deputy Chief of Staff in charge of his campaign rallies. He has since returned to the Secret Service.

Then it occured to me, Trump used Tony Ornato like he used Keith Schiller.

Ornato knows what happened and who ordered it. He can be compelled to testify. He can be held accountable for illegal actions that he did on behalf of Trump, just like Michael Cohen. Trump might end up being unindicted co-conspirator 1 again, but at least someone will be held accountable for the willful spreading of COVD-19.

Who could be responsible for actions that lead to 881 infected Secret Service employees? Investigate Trump's Deputy Chief of Staff, Tony Ornato.

Tony Ornato, Deputy Chief of Staff in charge of his campaign rallies Credit: National Geographic Channel U.S. Secret Service: On The Frontline

It might not just be Ornato, Carol Leonnig in her Book Zero Fail talked about how Trump's senior protective detail agents told Secret Service officers and agents to take off their masks at Trump's Bedminster, New Jersey Golf Club.

In Andy Slavitt's new book Preventable, he said Trump knowingly endangered staffer and his Secret Service personnel.

Andy Slavitt, Preventable: The Inside Story of How Leadership Failures, Politics, and Selfishness Doomed the U.S. Coronavirus Response "

From my research it appears to me that one or more individuals in the Trump Campaign either intentionally obstructed testing, willfully delayed reporting, or delayed testing. I can make a case for Ornato, but a real investigation is needed.

Ornato would have enormous power over the President's campaign staff and over current Secret Service agents. In addition, cities and counties ALWAYS defer to the Secret Service when it comes to security and who is allowed around the President. In Tulsa they put the Secret Service in charge of coordinating contact tracing. Did they follow the laws of Oklahoma about immediate reporting? The public can't know, but IT IS discoverable by the right agencies.

CREW report Nearly 900 Secret Service employees got COVID Credit: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

In a July 1, 2020 story Josh Dawsey and Carol Leonnig wrote about health care workers doing the testing in Tulsa being told not to test some people vs others and delaying test reporting. Who was giving the orders? Did they follow OSDH rules on IMMEDIATE reporting of results? Why were people suspected of being infected NOT tested?

 In the aftermath, some Secret Service agents returning from the Tulsa trip were directed not to get tested until Wednesday, days after the rally, an instruction that was given without explanation and which some agents found perplexing, according to two people familiar with the instructions.  In wake of Trump’s Tulsa rally, his campaign is still contending with the fallout,  

July 1, 2020 by Josh Dawsey and Carol D. Leonnig

Based on my conversations and emails with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Tulsa's Department of Health and public health experts, this is a violation of Oklahoma's Title 63. Public Health and Safety statutes Specifically, under §63-6103, The Catastrophic Health Emergency Powers Act, the word IMMEDIATELY is used as it applies to reporting,

I think this warrants an investigation by Mike Hunter, the Oklahoma Attorney General. CORRECTION: Attorney General Mike Hunter resigned abruptly after filing for a divorce. Dawn Cash is the current acting Attorney General as of June 1, 2021. Gov. Stitt has yet to name a replacement. )
Based on Dawsey's & Leonnig's reporting there is evidence of intentional obstruction and delays, so who orders and investigation?

Will a Republican governor in a Red State order an investigation into the Trump campaign for possible violations of public health laws? I've seen how reluctant states are to prosecute people for willfully breaking public health laws. In Florida Gov. DeSantis is PARDONING people before they even go to court!

The good news is that since this involves Secret Service employees, it warrants an investigation at the Federal level.  I've identified who can do this Chairman Bennie Thompson on the DHS committee. Plus the @HomelandDems are already looking into the violation of COVID-19 protocols at ICE.

This is not just a Tulsa issue. The Trump Campaign did this all across the country. They even did it in D.C. when they blocked serious contact tracing from the White House Rose garden event. The Trump people SERIOUSLY didn't want any investigations. Look at how they blocked an inquiry via the DHS inspector General.

Credit: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington


I've found other law breaking and public health violations at Trump's rally during my research, but so far I haven't found any prosecutions. I've listed a number of the reasons why in my piece here: Honor the #COVID19 dead, then prosecute their killers

Here's the deal, the Oklahoma State Department of Health, @HealthyOklahoma, CAN know the details and Mike Hunter Oklahoma Attorney General can investigate. @Okla_OAG But will they?

The Trump people violate norms and don't tell the truth unless they are under oath. The Trump Campaign's failure to comply with the Oklahoma law and EOs should have led to criminal charges or civil damages, but they didn't.

40 Percent of U.S. COVID Deaths Could Have Been Averted If It Weren’t for Trump:

We have definitive proof that people got sick and died because of Trump's rallies. I have links to the studies. But when I bring them up, i'm greeted with all the reasons that it is impossible to hold Trump (or anyone) responsible.

The spreading of COVID was not an unstoppable act of nature like a hurricane. People got infected because of deliberate actions taken by human beings.

Noel Casler points out that Trump's methods of lying, obstructing, delaying and blaming others has worked for him his entire life. It's working for him on this. So what can be done?

Let's say the investigation found out that people acted on their own based on what they thought Trump wanted. Prosecute those who knowly violated public health laws. Maybe it wasn't Tony Ornato giving all the orders, maybe it was Brad Parscale, maybe it was someone in Secret Service management. The point is we HAVE the ability to know who did this. What we need is a plan to act. In June 17 of 2020 Dr. Bruce Dart was talking to the Tulsa City Council. said,

My heart's hurting knowing what's coming 2 weeks from now. It's coming and we are not going to be able to stop it. Dr. Bruce Dart, Executive Director, Tulsa Health Department

Contact Rep. @BennieGThompson Chairman of DHS oversight committee to start an investigation.

Can you help us out?

For 17 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We are currently migrating to Disqus

On May 14, 2022, we started migrating our comments from Insticator back to Disqus. During this transition period, some posts will have Insticator and some Disqus. For more information on the transition, as well as information regarding old C&L accounts, please see this post.

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.