POLITICS

Congress Requests Secret Service Protection For All Presidential Candidates

The ask comes after protesters rushed the stage at a Joe Biden campaign event on Super Tuesday.

The House Homeland Security Committee has requested that all presidential candidates receive Secret Service protection, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) told reporters Wednesday during a press call organized by former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign.

Several animal rights activists rushed the stage and disrupted Biden’s speech in Los Angeles as he celebrated primary wins across the country on Tuesday. Biden’s wife, Jill, immediately leapt in front of her husband with her arms raised, blocking him with her body. Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to the presidential candidate, also rushed in to haul a protester from the stage.

The incident “worried” congressional Democrats, said Richmond, who serves on the committee and is a co-chair to Biden’s campaign.

Secret Service protection is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security after consultation with top leaders in Congress, CNN reports. 

Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), the chair of the committee, on Wednesday asked the acting secretary of homeland security to start the process of authorizing protection for the candidates. 

“Taking into consideration the remaining candidates’ large campaign operations, high polling averages, as well as physical threats to their safety ... I urge you to immediately initiate the consultation process to determine whether to provide [secret service] protection to certain major Democratic presidential candidates,” Thompson wrote in a letter to Chad Wolf. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) received Secret Service protection shortly after the Iowa caucuses in 2016, but hasn’t been granted it in this election cycle. Biden also does not currently have Secret Service protection, even though he is a former vice president. Private security guards him at campaign events.