RFK Jr says Secret Service won't provide protection as they do for every 'major' presidential candidate

"You're literally the poster child of why presidential candidates need protection," one Twitter user responded.

On Friday, Robert F Kennedy Jr said that he had been denied Secret Service protection, a resource provided to all major presidential candidates since 1968, when Kennedy's father was assassinated during his campaign for the nation's highest office.

After numerous requests to the Department of Homeland Security-led panel, Kennedy said that Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas handed down the official verdict, telling Kennedy that protection was "not warranted at this time."

"Typical turnaround time for pro forma protection requests from presidential candidates is 14-days," Kennedy said on Twitter. "After 88-days of no response and after several follow-ups by our campaign, the Biden Administration just denied our request."

He stated that that Secretary Mayorkas had told him that he and the panel "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," Kennedy added.

Protection is typically provided to "major" presidential and vice-presidential candidates, as well as their families, within 120 days of a general presidential election. At the time Kennedy submitted his request, there were over 550 days until the 2024 presidential election, and over a year until the 120 day period came into effect.

The Secret Service has "no role in determining who is to be considered a major candidate." Instead, that decision is left to Mayorkas, with the help of the Speaker of the House, House Minority Whip, Senate Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, and "one additional member chosen by the committee." 

Criteria they analyze includes whether the candidate has polled at or above 15 percent for 30 consecutive days. According to FiveThirtyEight, while Kennedy has hovered around that mark, he has dipped below within the timeframe.

Nonetheless, many reacted to Kennedy's announcement with shock, given his family's history of being targeted with political violence.

Journalist Michael Shellenberger called the situation "shocking," and stated that his team had reached out to the Secret Service for an explanation.
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