[Updated January 23, 2021] U.S. Secret Service agent David Cho was seen on the big screen today wearing a protective mask and standing right behind President Joe Biden on Inauguration Day.
As planned by the Secret Service, Korean-American David Cho is the special agent in charge of protecting President Biden. Agent Cho is known for being a “perfectionist supervisor” and quickly rose to become the “second-in-command” for the protective detail of the Trump administration.
He was awarded The Secretary’s Exceptional Service Gold Medal in 2019 for his unparalleled service during Trump’s visit to North Korea.
“For 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.”– Homeland Security
Korean-American David Cho Goes Viral as He Makes Asian-American History
David Cho went viral on Twitter as he becomes the first Asian-American to lead the presidential security detail. The excitement came from all over the world as people wanted to know more about the man who never took his eyes off the President Biden during the entire inauguration ceremony.
Conspiracy Theories Were Also Active on Social Media
There were also false and racist conspiracy theories spreading from far-right Facebook and Twitter users who became obsessed with the “China man” who “followed Biden all f****** day,” as Twitter user We the People put it.
The baseless theories were in line with the longtime attempts by the Trump administration to portray Biden as weak on China but many netizens were quick to debunk the falsehoods and vouch for David Cho’s longtime service in the US Secret Service.
Two ‘Joes’ In The White House
Given that David Cho’s last name pronunciation in Korean is “Jo,” Twitter users quickly pointed out the wordplay between Cho’s surname and President “Joe” Biden.
An NBC News article translates the Korean messages reposted from Naver to Twitter about the excitement from users over the two “Joes” at Inauguration Day. “Eyeing the bodyguard’s name … Was he picked because he’s from the ‘Jo’ family. Looks like America can’t ignore blood ties too”
Will The Real David Cho Please Stand Up
In 2015, the South Korean surname “Cho” or pronounced “Jo” was the 6th most common surname in South Korea and as the name “David Cho” went viral, a comical debate sprang up online over whether some LinkedIn members knew the “real” David Cho. Korean-American David Cho, a Partner at Bain & Company, one of the top consulting agencies globally, took to LinkedIn to announce that he was not the “U.S. Secret Service David Cho” in the news.
With all the chaos in the world, this humorous anecdote shared by David Cho at Bain & Company portrays how even the most comical similarity of having the same name can demonstrate the importance of support within the Korean-American community.
Congratulations to President Joe Biden and best of luck to Agent Cho and his team on this most historic of days.
Isabella Chung is a visual creator and contributing writer for Best of Korea. She discovered her passion for Korean culture through Korean hip-hop, an international summer language program at Yonsei University, and training with Korea’s National Fencing team in Seoul, Korea.