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.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”