Commander, the German shepherd belonging to the Bidens, has reportedly been at the center of multiple aggressive incidents resulting in injuries to Secret Service officers, mirroring a situation that led to another Biden dog being removed from the White House last year. Judicial Watch, a conservative legal activist group, has obtained and released emails, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request lawsuit, that detail ten alleged attacks by the nearly two-year-old canine, spanning from October 2022 through January of this year.
In November, Commander was involved in a biting incident that left an officer with injuries on the upper right arm and thigh. The officer was forced to use a steel cart to shield themselves from another attack, and as a result, experienced significant pain. One officer expressed concern, stating, “I believe it’s only a matter of time before an agent/officer is attacked or bit.”
Another email documented a harrowing encounter with the aggressive canine, where the officer recounted, “Today, while posted, he came charging at me. The First Lady couldn’t regain control of [Commander], and he continued to circle me.” This incident, along with others, prompted an officer to report, “Commander [has been] exhibiting extremely aggressive behavior.”
In a separate November message, an officer described an incident in which they were walking towards a post assignment and spotted Commander and the First Lady in the Kennedy Garden. As they continued walking, the dog suddenly sprinted towards them, biting their left thigh before returning to the First Lady. The officer reported experiencing bruising, tenderness, and pain in the affected area.
The emails also recount several minor biting incidents involving Commander, raising concerns about the dog’s temperament and the potential for further aggression.
It is worth noting that President Biden’s other German shepherd, Major, was removed from the White House in 2021 after displaying a pattern of aggressive behavior. Major had been involved in a “biting incident” with a security team member and had also charged at staff and security employees on a separate occasion, according to CNN reports at the time.
Commander arrived at the White House in 2021, joining Willow, first lady Jill Biden’s cat, as a furry presence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The presidential pets have been featured in various events and even became part of the White House holiday decor last year, with miniature statues of Commander and Willow welcoming visitors in the East Wing.
The reports of Commander’s aggressive behavior have raised concerns among the public and the Secret Service, with the repeated incidents prompting questions about the safety and handling of the canine in the White House environment. As of the time of this report, the White House has not responded to requests for comment on the matter.
It remains to be seen how the administration will address these concerns and what steps will be taken to ensure the safety of officers and staff interacting with Commander. The situation also raises questions about the suitability of certain dog breeds in high-pressure and high-security environments. For now, the Bidens will likely face increasing scrutiny and pressure to take appropriate measures in response to the dog’s behavior.