During an interview earlier this week with Kevin Cirilli and Bog Cusack writing for The Hill newspaper, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wondered out loud why he is not under Secret Service protection – and questioned whether partisan politics was playing any role in the decision.
After all, Trump, who has been the front-runner in the race for Republican party’s presidential nomination since he entered the race this past June, said that then Illinois Senator Barack Obama had been given Secret Service protection much earlier in the 2008 presidential campaign when Obama was running for president and didn’t lead in the polls.
Despite this history, the Secret Service is not protecting Trump and he wants to know why.
“I want to put them on notice because they should have a liability.” “Personally, I think if Obama were doing as well as me he would’ve had Secret Service [earlier]. I have by far the biggest crowds,” Trump said.
A quick review of Secret Service records by Cirilli and Cusack showed that Obama began receiving Secret Service protection on May 3, 2007 – more than a year and half before the 2008 presidential election. To clarify his concerns:
“Trump asked one of his private security officers to describe the discussions the Secret Service has had with his campaign. The talks were described as preliminary, and the Trump camp says the Secret Service had not provided a definitive answer on when — or if — the billionaire businessman will receive government protection.
“They’re in no rush because I’m a Republican. They don’t give a shit,” Trump said jokingly.
Trump later clarified his statement by adding:
“Of course I don’t think they’d want anything to happen. But I would think they should be very proactive and want protection for somebody like me that has 20,000 people at any time,” Trump said. “You would think that they would want to be very proactive, but we have not heard from them.”
A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the Secret Service, said it had not received an official request for protection from the Trump campaign. Quoting The Hill:
“If a request is received [by DHS], the spokeswoman said, a determination of Secret Service protection would be made after a consultation with an advisory committee including House and Senate leaders from both parties.”
Trump increased private security in July after the candidate was threaten by Mexican drug cartel kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, who escaped from prison earlier this year.
Guzman made his threat by posting a tweet from his Twitter account leading Trump to contact the FBI.
Despite pundit predictions that he was a less than serious candidate looking for headlines, the 69-year-old candidate has seen his support grow from the high teens in July to the mid- twenties and low thirties in some polls conducted in earlier this month.
Trumps’s rise in the polls is attributed to his ability to attract attention from the news media and his off the cuff speeches he has given to record crowds – some that exceed 30,000 depending on the venue – without a teleprompter.
He also garners support by the way he treats the mainstream news media in press conferences where he often taunts the reporters asking him questions.
As a controversial candidate who might attract the attention of a lone wolf gunman looking for fame by attacking the candidate, Trump informs his position, in part, on the policies and mission of the Secret Service which reads:
“The Secret Services provides “Temporary protectees, such as presidential and vice presidential candidates/nominees and foreign heads of state, are staffed with special agents on temporary assignment from U.S. Secret Service field offices.”
It is clear that the presidential race would change dramatically if Trump were to suddenly be taken out by an assassin’s bullet and now the Secret Service is on notice that they will bear the blame if a successful attack happens, one can only hope that the Secret Service will put politics aside and protect Donald Trump.