Two Republican presidential hopefuls — Ben Carson and Donald Trump — have asked for Secret Service protection, the Department of Homeland Security has confirmed to NPR.
DHS said it has received official requests from both campaigns. Those requests are now under review, but neither candidate has yet received a security detail. According to a DHS spokesman, the Carson and Trump requests will be determined “after consultation with a congressional advisory committee which includes the speaker of the House, House minority leader, Senate majority leader, Senate minority leader and one additional member selected by the aforementioned committee.”
Although DHS has said the Carson campaign requested protection during a stop on his book tour in Austin, Texas, Carson suggested he did not think additional protection was necessary.
“I don’t feel the need for it quite frankly, but the Secret Service thinks that I need it,” Carson said. “I recognize that someone like me — who’s very truthful, and who really doesn’t subscribe to all the traditional power structures is probably gonna be a target. I also think that there’s a God, but, you know, you have to be logical, so I will deal with it.”
But Donald Trump has been taking a different tone. In an interview with The Hill last week, he said that the Secret Service ought to be protecting him.
“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.
President Obama was put under Secret Service protection earlier than any other candidate in presidential election history during the 2008 campaign. He received a security detail in on May 3, 2007, about eight months before any of the primary contests began.
His primary opponent at the time, Hillary Clinton, already had Secret Service protection as a former first lady, as she does this campaign. DHS would not say whether any other 2016 presidential candidates have made similar requests.
If Carson and Trump are approved for detail, the candidates may have made one thing easier for the Secret Service by picking out their code names. Responding to a question at the end of September’s Republican debate, Carson chose “One Nation” and Trump picked “Humble.”