WASHINGTON — Ever since Wednesday’s inauguration, many Asian Americans have been asking about the identity of an Asian Secret Service agent seen guarding President Joe Biden.
His name is not a secret; David Cho, a Korean American, is the first Asian American special agent in charge of the president’s detail.
Under President Trump, Cho worked his way up to second-in-command of the protective detail.
In 2019, he received the Secretary’s Exceptional Service Gold Medal, which is granted “in recognition of exceptionally outstanding leadership or service that is distinguished by achievements of national or international significance, reflecting great credit on the Department of Homeland Security and the federal government by markedly improving the security of our homeland.”
Cho was recognized for negotiating with North Korean officials to arrange security for Trump during a summit with Kim Jong Un.
The DHS cited his “tireless and direct participation in high-level negotiations with the leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, planning all security details for both presidential visits to that country, while still leading the men and women of the Presidential Protective Division’s White House Section in their zero-fail mission on the White House Complex.”
The medal was presented by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan.
According to The Washington Post, Cho is known as a “perfectionist supervisor.”
Cho has become a hot topic on social media. Actress Vivian Bang tweeted, “JOYful tears for Kamala & Joe! ‘We must meet this moment as a UNITED states of America. Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire.’ It can be a different kind of hot like Korean babe — head of Secret Service — David Cho — hot.”
According to NBC News, a user on Naver, a Korean online platform similar to Google, said in a message that was reposted to Twitter, “An honor for the Cho clan! Even President Biden is from the Cho family.” (Cho is pronounced “Jo” in Korean.)
On Facebook, actor Kelvin Han Yee had a new version of Isaac Hayes’ theme from “Shaft”: “Who’s the Asian special agent who never fails / on President Joe Biden’s security detail? / Cho — David Cho.”
Actress Amy Hill posted photos of Cho and simply commented, “Yassss!”
Jerry Won of Just Like Media, Dear Asian Americans and One Day in One Year Podcast posted, “Another first and historic moment for Asian Americans.”
Not all of the reactions were positive. According to International Business Times, some conspiracy theorists falsely identified Cho as Biden’s “Chinese handler.” A Facebook page named Patriots United wrote: “Biden, his wife and a China man arrive in Washington DC! Biden the communist puppet. This is really an eye-opener on how dangerous and real China’s influence is in America. His Chinese handler is never more than 3 feet away.” The post was flagged by Facebook for giving false information.