Former U.S. President Donald Trump posted what he claimed was the residential address of Barack Obama on his social media platform, an action coinciding with the arrest of an armed man in the vicinity of the property. This news, shared by federal prosecutors on Wednesday, has caused widespread concern about the safety and security of our nation’s leaders, according to reporting by the Associated Press.
Taylor Taranto, a 37-year-old man who previously participated in the infamous January 6, 2021 Capitol riot, was arrested with a van containing firearms and an extensive supply of ammunition. This incident has resulted in an urgent Justice Department motion to ensure he remains detained for public safety.
On the day of Taranto’s arrest, he reposted a social media message from Trump’s Truth Social platform, which reportedly shared the location of Obama’s home. In a separate post on the communication app, Telegram, Taranto wrote: “We got these losers surrounded! See you in hell, Podesta’s and Obama’s.” This inflammatory statement referenced John Podesta, the campaign chair for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Democratic presidential run.
On his YouTube livestream, Taranto hinted at potentially dangerous intentions, stating that he was trying to get a “good angle on a shot,” as cited by prosecutors.
In response, Taranto’s legal representative, Kathryn D’Adamo Guevara, has argued for his release until trial. She claimed that Taranto, a veteran of the U.S. Navy who served in Iraq and has family in Washington state, was not a flight risk.
According to the Justice Department’s detention memo, Taranto’s visit to Washington was driven by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s promise to reveal unseen footage of the Jan. 6 attack. Taranto is already facing four misdemeanor charges related to his involvement in the Capitol assault.
Despite these legal concerns, Taranto continued his online activities, sharing a Facebook video of himself at the Capitol on the day of the riot and advocating for a conspiracy theory about the shooting of Ashli Babbitt.
With the FBI closely monitoring Taranto due to his involvement in the Capitol riot, his online declaration on YouTube that he was on a “one-way mission” in Gaithersburg, Maryland caught their attention. He specifically mentioned an intent to target the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The following day, he continued his livestream from a Washington neighborhood, known to be where Obama resides. This area, under heavy U.S. Secret Service surveillance, became a place where Taranto claimed he was seeking “entrance points” and a “good angle on a shot.”
Officials reported that Taranto was spotted by law enforcement officers near Obama’s home. When he tried to escape, he was pursued by Secret Service agents, highlighting the ever-present concerns about the safety and security of former presidents.