Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. recently revealed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) denied his request for Secret Service protection, even though he’s running with “unique and well-established security and safety risks.”
“Since the assassination of my father in 1968, candidates for president are provided Secret Service protection. But not me,” Kennedy said on X, also known as Twitter.
Since the assassination of my father in 1968, candidates for president are provided Secret Service protection. But not me.
Typical turnaround time for pro forma protection requests from presidential candidates is 14-days. After 88-days of no response and after several…
— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@RobertKennedyJr) July 28, 2023
Kennedy said that DHS ignored his request for 88 days, and after multiple follow-ups by his campaign, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas replied, “I have determined that Secret Service protection for Robert F Kennedy Jr is not warranted at this time.”
The 2020 Secret Service guidance states that the DHS secretary can determine which candidates are eligible for Secret Service protection after consultation with an advisory committee of the House and Senate leadership.
The committee would contain the House speaker, the House minority leader, the Senate Majority leader, the Senate minority leader, as well as one additional member chosen by others.
The guidance states that the Secret Service authorizes protection for “major presidential and vice-presidential candidates and their spouses” 120 days before a general presidential election.
To even be considered a “major candidate,” an individual seeking the presidency should average 15% or more in national polls.
As of July 27, 2023, a FiveThirtyEight poll shows Kennedy with a 14.9% in national polling data against President Joe Biden.
From July 24-26, a Big Village poll had Kennedy at 20%, and Biden at 63%.
The 2020 guidance also lists specific threats toward a candidate as a criterion for potential Secret Service protection.
“A threat assessment conducted by the Secret Service of general or specific threats directed towards the candidate. (for these purposes, “threats” should be defined as explicit threats of bodily harm to the candidate or indications of inappropriate behavior towards the candidate suggesting potential bodily harm),” the guidance states.
Kennedy is not the only one denouncing the DHS’ refusal to provide him with Secret Service protection.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) condemned the Biden administration for rejecting Kennedy’s request for protection.
Not only is there a dual system of justice, now we have a dual system of protection.
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) July 28, 2023
“Not only is there a dual system of justice, now we have a dual system of protection,” Johnson wrote. “RFK Jr., along with any other presidential candidates facing real threats need Secret Service protection. Denying him protection is simply wrong.”