Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump believes he should have Secret Service protection, and suggested that if he was a Democrat instead of a Republican, he may already have it.
Comparing the turnout he is seeing on the campaign trail to the crowds President Obama was receiving in the 2008 election, Trump told The Hill on Tuesday that by this point in Obama’s first run, he had Secret Service protection.
“I want to put them on notice because they should have a liability,” the candidate said. “Personally, I think if Obama were doing as well as me he would’ve had Secret Service [earlier]. I have by far the biggest crowds.”
According to The Hill, then-Sen. Obama was given protection “unusually early in the presidential cycle” — May 3, 2007 — and that the decision was not based on specific threats.
“They’re in no rush because I’m a Republican. They don’t give a shit,” Trump joked, after a private security officer told The Hill the Secret Service has had preliminary discussions with the campaign.
Trump later clarified the off-the-cuff remark, likely knowing how the media would respond.
“Of course I don’t think they’d want anything to happen,” he said of the agency. “But I would think they should be very proactive and want protection for somebody like me that has 20,000 people at any time.”
“You would think that they would want to be very proactive, but we have not heard from them.”
The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Secret Service, said it had not received an official request for protection.
Protection became a greater concern for Trump after an exchange earlier this year on social media that centered on Mexican drug cartel kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán — the candidate said in a post that he would kick El Chapo’s ass.
An ominous tweet, reportedly made by El Chapo’s son after his father escaped from prison, threatened to make Trump eat his words.
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