Nikki Haley Seeks Secret Service Protection Amid Threats

Secret Service protection is usually granted to presidential candidates 120 days within an election.

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has requested Secret Service protection due to increased security threats as a 2024 candidate.

“We’ve had multiple issues … It’s not going to stop me from doing what I need to do,” Ms. Haley said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Monday while confirming she has applied for Secret Service protection. Her campaign did not disclose details as to what specific threats triggered the request.

In recent days, protestors opposed to Ms. Haley’s support for Ukraine funding disrupted some of her events in North Carolina.

Late last month, it came to light that Ms. Haley was the target of a swatting incident in December. Swatting refers to the filing of false reports to the police to trigger a response from officers. This practice can be extremely dangerous, as the police have no way of knowing it is a hoax and may take forceful and potentially dangerous actions when responding.

The Dec. 30 swatting incident involved an unknown individual calling 911 and claiming to have “shot his girlfriend and threatened to harm himself while at the residence of Nikki Haley,” Craig Harris, Kiawah Island director of public safety, told town officials at the time, according to Reuters. “It was determined to be a hoax … Nikki Haley is not on the island and her son is with her.”
In an interview with NBC News, Ms. Haley said that her parents, aged 87 and 90, were at home during the incident together with their caregiver.

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“I will tell you that the last thing you want is to see multiple law enforcement officials with guns drawn pointing at my parents and thinking that something happened … It was an awful situation,” she said.

On New Year’s Day, Ms. Haley was the target of another swatting incident. An individual called 911 claiming that Ms. Haley’s daughter was lying in a pool of blood and that the GOP candidate was threatening to shoot herself. The caller said they were on the phone with Ms. Haley.

Meanwhile, Ms. Haley’s campaign is also looking at how heightened security could affect the GOP candidate’s travel plans and campaign schedules.

Secret Service Protection

While the Secret Service protects major presidential and vice presidential candidates, they do not decide who gets protection. That power lies with the Secretary of Homeland Security.

The Homeland Secretary authorizes protection after consultation with a Congressional Advisory Committee comprising the Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, Senate Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, and one additional member selected by the others.

“Protection under these guidelines should only be granted within one year prior to the general election. Protection more than one year prior to the general election should only be granted in extraordinary, case by case circumstances in consultation with the committee, based on threat assessment and other factors,” the Secret Service stated.

Spouses of major presidential and vice presidential candidates are also eligible. Candidates and spouses began receiving protection in the aftermath of Robert Kennedy’s assassination in 1968.

Secret Service protection is usually granted within 120 days of the presidential race. Under the Trump administration, President Joe Biden was given protection 221 days prior to the 2020 election. Barack Obama received protection in May 2007, which was the first time a candidate was given protection almost two years before an election.
A controversy emerged last year after independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. accused the Biden administration of not providing him protection despite threats to his life.
“It’s not right for the president to provide protection to his family and political favorites while denying it to political rivals. During his first week as attorney general, my father assembled all the DOJ’s senior prosecutors to tell them that he would not tolerate any politicization of law enforcement,” Mr. Kennedy said in an Oct. 28 post on X (formerly Twitter).

“I don’t spend time worrying about my personal safety. I do worry about the safety of my family and their sense of wellbeing, and about the safety of bystanders if there is a more serious incident. I’m most troubled by the weaponization of federal law enforcement agencies to serve political agendas.”

Mr. Kennedy’s comments came after Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had earlier rejected his two pleas for Secret Service protection.

Haley Versus Trump

Ms. Haley’s request for Secret Service protection comes as she is the only remaining GOP challenger standing against former President Donald Trump in the Republican primaries. Last month, President Trump defeated Ms. Haley in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

Ms. Haley will now challenge President Trump in the South Carolina primary scheduled for Feb. 24. The contest is crucial for Ms. Haley as South Carolina is her home state where she used to be a governor.
However, things do not look too good for President Trump’s challenger. A Monmouth University-Washington Post Poll published on Feb. 1 stated that President Trump secured 58 percent support from likely Republican primary voters, with Ms. Haley getting only 32 percent support.

“Haley’s hopes appear to hang on pulling in Democratic-leaning voters who would never support her in a general election but simply want to stop Trump,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

“Our sampling frame for this poll did not include voters who have participated only in Democratic primaries. If a sizable number of those voters decide to skip this week’s primary and show up for the Republican contest instead, she could narrow the gap. It would remain a tough challenge, though, for her to actually close it.”

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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