March 6, 2020
Jill Biden is not just her husband’s greatest champion; she’s also his strongest defender, as she proved when environmental activists rushed the stage at a rally in Los Angeles on March 3 and she quickly stepped forward to shield the candidate.
While the dangerous situation was dealt with quickly and effectively, former Vice President Joe Biden was alarmed that protesters had slipped through his private security cordon and that his wife had been caught in the middle.
On Wednesday, his campaign began privately deliberating whether to formally request Secret Service protection for the candidate, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, The Washington Post reported..
Both Biden and fellow candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) have been relying on private security firms to handle their public appearances, which is unusual this late in a presidential campaign cycle—in comparison with 2016, 2012, and 2008—the Post noted.
But their emergence over the past week as the clear front-runners in the Democratic primaries has prompted calls for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the U.S. Secret Service, to authorize full-time protection for both of them.
“Taking into consideration the remaining candidates’ large campaign operations, high polling averages, as well as physical threats to their safety … I urge you to immediately initiate the consultation process to determine whether to provide USSS protection” to Biden and Sanders,” Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, wrote in a letter Wednesday to Acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf.
Representative Cedric Richmond (D-Louisiana), a member of the Homeland Security Committee and co-chair of Biden’s campaign, told reporters that Democratic lawmakers were “worried about” security for the Democrats on the campaign trail even before the incident at Biden’s speech on Super Tuesday.
The Biden campaign has begun deliberating over whether to move forward with a formal request to the Secret Service, according to the person familiar with the situation, who spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity to comment freely about a sensitive security matter. The Sanders campaign did not immediately respond to questions on the subject. The DHS also did not respond to a request for comment.
Both Biden, during his eight years as vice president, and Sanders, during his 2016 contest against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, have received Secret Service protection in the past.
Research contact: @washingtonpost