Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says the Biden Administration has denied him Secret Service protections.
“Since the assassination of my father in 1968, candidates for president are provided Secret Service protection,” the lawyer wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on July 28. “But not me.”
During the 120 days leading up to a general election, the Secret Service can provide protection to major presidential or vice presidential candidates and their spouses. The Department of Homeland Security ultimately wields the discretion to determine if a candidate is major or not. That determination is made by consulting a committee that includes the DHS Secretary, House Speaker, House Minority Whip, Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, as well as another member chosen by the committee, according to the Secret Service website.
“Typical turnaround time for pro forma protection requests from presidential candidates is 14-days,” Kennedy continued in his post. “After 88-days of no response and after several follow-ups by our campaign, the Biden Administration just denied our request.”
Kennedy said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandros Mayorkas wrote that he had “determined that Secret Service protection for Robert F Kennedy Jr 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,” wrote Kennedy.
The Hill, which described Kennedy as “a long-shot candidate who has faced forceful Democratic pushback,” noted that the 2024 general election is 460 days away.
Robert F. Kennedy, RKF Jr’s father, was assassinated on June 5, 1968, in New York. The 42-year-old had just won the California primary and his death came just shy of five years after the assassination of his brother, President John F. Kennedy.
“The service had begun protecting presidents after the 1901 assassination of William McKinley. After RFK, Congress expanded its duties to include presidential and vice presidential candidates,” reported USA Today in June of 2015.
The outlet noted the protection is offered to those considered a “major candidate who receives a certain amount of federal matching funds.”
While speaking with podcaster Joe Rogan in June, Kennedy discussed the theory that his uncle was assassinated by the Central Intelligence Agency and that he was “aware” he could also be targeted.
“I don’t live in fear of it — at all. But I’m not stupid about it and I take precautions,” the Democrat said during the interview, per The Sun.
While incumbent President Joe Biden leads in the polls, Kennedy has seen double-digit popularity among Democrats since announcing his campaign on April 19. A Fox News poll published in late May found RFK had 16% support ahead of his party’s primary
“Two surveys released last week by the Harvard University Center for American Political Studies and The Messenger showed Biden with 62 percent support to Kennedy’s 15 percent and 54 percent to 14 percent, respectively,” noted Newsweek on June 19.
A survey done by YouGov and The Economist found 40% of Americans have a favorable view of Kennedy, including 62% of Black Americans, 50% of voters between 18 and 29, 44% of Democrats, 48% of independents, and 56% of Republicans. Moreover, 40% of people who voted for Biden in 2020 have a favorable view of Kennedy.