WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2015 – It is not only dangerous to be president, but also to run for president. A country divided by two political parties that are as divisive as they are in America was once the atmosphere found in countries where a democracy attempts to overthrow a tyrannical government.
Places where death threats against politicians are the norm, not the exception.
In the history of the U.S. , Abraham Lincoln, James. A. Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy have, thankfully, been our only assassinated presidents. There were failed assassination attempts at Jackson, Lincoln, Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Truman, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and George H. Bush.
Most recently there have been numerous plots to assassinate President Obama, but none that have resulted in any direct threat to the commander in chief. Obama did sign into law H.R. 6620, the Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012, that grants lifetime Secret Service protection to all former presidents, their wives (unless they remarry) and their children under the age of 16.
Citing increased terrorist threats and “the greater mobility and youth of former presidents,” Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., one of the bill’s chief sponsors, argued for the change in the previous 10-year limit to protection was necessary.
“Both men are young, enjoy good health, and have long lives ahead of them post-presidency,” Gowdy said during a speech on the House floor. “This bill proposes to extend that security for the remainder of their lives.”
The House overwhelmingly supported the bill.
The service had begun protecting presidents after the 1901 assassination of William McKinley.
Providing Secret Service details to leading presidential nominees began with tragedy after the June 5, 1968, assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy not quite five years after his brother, President John Kennedy, fell to an assassin’s bullet.
RFK had just won the California primary, boosting his chances to win the Democratic nomination. His death is one of the great “what-ifs” of American history.
Earlier that same year, in April, an assassin struck down Martin Luther King Jr.
It was after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy that Congress expanded its duties to include presidential and vice presidential candidates.
Needless to say the Secret Service will be giving enhanced protection to Ben Carson and Donald Trump immediately as both have both received death threats. Carson has also been threatened by terrorist chatter, possibly as a result of his statement regarding a Muslim, unable to put the Constitution before the Quran, should not be President.
NewsMax reports that sources inside federal agencies have said that the threats made against the pediatric neurosurgeon turned presidential hopeful have been “off the charts” and that the Secret Service and other agencies, including the FBI, have become increasingly alarmed over the last few weeks.
Armstrong Williams, Carson’s business manager, told Newsmax he could neither “confirm nor deny” the Secret Service protection. “We don’t comment on security matters involving Dr. Carson,” he said.
Reports are that Carson at first refused protection, agreeing only after the levels of threat became grave.
“It is widely believed ISIS would like to strike a major political target in the U.S.,” the source said. The FBI has not offered such an assessment publicly.
But earlier this week, FBI cirector James Comey told reporters in the Cincinnati area that the bureau’s efforts to monitor ISIS activities continue “24 hours” a day. Source reports are that ISIS is increasing efforts to attack a political target in the U.S.
Republican front-runner Trump has officially requested Secret Service protection, referencing the large numbers of people at his events; Trump has also be very publicly threatened by the Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
A Twitter account linked to Guzman issued a threat against the billionaire: “Keep f–king around and I’m gonna make you swallow your whore words you f–king whitey milks–tter.”
And then in July, shortly after Trump criticized the Mexican government for the escape of a drug lord, Guzman issued this threat against the billionaire: “Keep f–king around and I’m gonna make you swallow your whore words you f–king whitey milks–tter.”
There are uncorroborated claims that El Chapo has placed a $100 million bounty on Trump.
Eric Trump, one of the candidate’s three sons, expressed concerns about his father’s safety, estimating that as many as 30,000 or more people have been attending Trump rallies.
“There’s mobs of people, and the energy, it’s incredible,” Eric Trump said. “But it really only takes one.”
Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, as a former First Lady, receives Secret Service protection; however it has been increased during this political season.
In 2008, Secret Service director Mark Sullivan told a House committee it costs about $38,000 a day to protect presidential candidates. We could guess that that cost has elevated over the last seven years. Not all candidates receive Secret Service protection. He or she must be considered a major candidate who receives a certain amount of federal matching funds. Despite his front-runner status, as of reports dated mid-September, Sanders did not have a detail assigned to him.
The 2016 election will be unique in that one candidate already has a Secret Service detail: former first lady Hillary Clinton.