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What goes into protecting a president once he's left White House?

Contact 5 speaks with former Secret Service agent
President Donald Trump waves as he leaves Air Force One for final time at Palm Beach International Airport, Jan. 20, 2021
Posted at 5:24 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 22:30:45-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The "winter White House" -- Mar-a-Lago -- is now former President Donald Trump's home as he settles into civilian life post-presidency.

The club, which doubles as Trump's registered address, could prove a difficult environment for the Secret Service to protect the former president on a full-time basis, Contact 5 has learned.

"Certainly, Mar-a-Lago presents unique challenges for security because it's a larger compound that's open to the president," former Secret Service agent Tim Miller said in an interview with Contact 5. "Ideally, you'd want a former president's home only accessed by the former president."

Coast Guard boat patrols Mar-a-Lago in 2018
A U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat passes President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, Nov. 22, 2018, in Palm Beach, Fla.

Miller spent years keeping president's safe during his tenure with the Secret Service.

During former President Bill Clinton's first inauguration, Miller "was a site agent responsible for setting up the security for the reviewing stand," he told Contact 5. "It was the only area of the parade route where President and Mrs. (Hillary) Clinton actually got out of the vehicles and walked."

Miller also protected several former presidents, serving on details for presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Clinton after each left the White House.

Photo of Secret Service agent Tim Miller and family with President Bill Clinton in Oval Office
Tim Miller and his family pose with former President Bill Clinton in the Oval Office at the White House.

SEE ALSO: Donald Trump returns to Palm Beach for final time as president | Does Donald Trump want to form his own political party?

"The Secret Service takes protecting the former president with the same seriousness as protecting a current president," Miller said. "Wherever they are, as best you can, you're implementing the protective bubble."

That bubble is now in South Florida, as Trump takes up residency in the town of Palm Beach.

"If a person is loved or hated, you know, by certain elements, it can create security challenges," Miller told Contact 5.

Michael Buczyner speaks to former Secret Service agent Tim Miller
Contact 5 investigator Michael Buczyner interviews former Secret Service agent Tim Miller.

Miller could only speculate about extra resources needed to protect the former president in the current political climate of the country.

"I think with President Trump, I don't think it will be consistent with what we've seen in the past," he said.

Miller said he believes the Secret Service is "going to apply appropriate resources based on the nature of both intelligence and the overall protective situation."

"The Secret Service is going to have to be game ready, every day," Miller said. "Former presidents do what former presidents want to do. The Secret Service's mission is not to tell them where they can go. It's to support and secure them for where they choose to go."

With Trump now calling Palm Beach home, it might not be uncommon to see the agents in action.

"Now, for the rest of his life, he'll have a Secret Service detail," Miller said.

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