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Do presidential candidates get Secret Service? RFK Jr. denied protection


Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is blasting the U.S. Secret Service and other major agencies, claiming that he has not received protection even though certain stipulations are associated with them.

Kennedy, a candidate who has been accused of promoting conspiracy theories and who arguably poses the greatest inter-party challenge to incumbent President Joe Biden, tweeted Friday that all candidates have received Secret Service protection since his father was assassinated in 1968. “But not me,” he added.

“Typical turnaround time for pro forma protection requests from presidential candidates is 14-days,” Kennedy tweeted. “After 88-days of no response and after several follow-ups by our campaign, the Biden Administration just denied our request.”

The candidate also claimed that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas notified his campaign that Secret Service protection for Kennedy “is not warranted at this time.”

“Our campaign’s request included a 67-page report from the world’s leading protection firm, detailing unique and well established security and safety risks aside from commonplace death threats,” Kennedy added.

Do Presidential Candidates Get Secret Service?
Democratic Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks during the World Values Network’s Presidential candidate series at the Glasshouse on July 25, 2023, in New York City. He claimed in a tweet Friday that his campaign has received no Secret Service protection and is being stonewalled by the Department of Homeland Security.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty

The Secret Service’s website includes a list of stipulations on who it is authorized to protect, and when. That includes presidents, vice presidents, their spouses and families, and children of former presidents aged 16 and under.

Major presidential and vice presidential candidates and their spouses fall under those stipulations, but only within 120 days of a general presidential election. In this case, it would be 120 days prior to the presidential election being held on November 5, 2024.

One recent outlier of that provision was former President Barack Obama, who in May 2007 was granted Secret Service protection at the request of Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois due to the number of threats the Democrat faced in the early months of his campaign.

Obama’s challenger in the 2008 election, Republican John McCain, declined protection when offered at the same time, according to ABC News.

U.S. Secret Service provisions are also documented within 18 U.S. Code 3056A, which adds that protectors can carry firearms, make arrests without any warrants for offenses conducted in their presence, and can make arrests for felonies based on “reasonable grounds.”

Newsweek reached out to Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi via text, and the Kennedy campaign and DHS via email, for comment.


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