On Oct. 22, during a radio interview with GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson, WABC’s Rita Cosby noted that the Ben Carson campaign had requested Secret Service protection. Carson has changed his tune substantially about the issue in only three days, having been quoted in an interview on Oct. 19 that he didn’t feel the need for such action.
In her interview, Cosby asked Carson about the alleged threats he has received.
Carson responded that he believes he is in danger because progressives see him as an “existential threat.”
“I’d prefer not to talk about security issues but I have recognized — and people have been telling me for many, many months — that I’m in great danger because I challenge the secular progressive movement to the very core.
“You know, they see me as an existential threat and I know that, but I also believe in the good lord and we take reasonable precautions.”
Cosby continued by questioning Carson on whether the “threats” were actually valid and serious.
“I Believe The Threats Are Serious,” Carson Responded. “They Wouldn’t Even Be Considering This If The Threats Were Not Serious.”
The Department of Homeland Security on Oct. 19 confirmed that Carson and Donald Trump have both requested Secret Service protection.
In a statement by Homeland Security’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Todd Breasseale, stated:
“The Department of Homeland Security has now received official requests for Secret Service protection from both the Carson and Trump campaigns and has taken them under review pursuant to the statutorily required process.”
There are conflicting stories in the media regarding the status of Secret Service protection for the two. In a recent report from Fox News,their headline asserts that protection has already been activated for both Carson and Trump. However, an Oct. 21 report in the Washington Post states that neither candidate has Secret Service protection at this time.
Carson stated as recently as Oct. 19, that he didn’t “feel the need for it” but that the Secret Service thought he needed the additional protection, according to the report fromNBC:
“I don’t feel the need for it, quite frankly, but the Secret Service thinks that I need it. So, you know, it is what it is.
“I recognize that someone like me who is very truthful and who really doesn’t subscribe to all the traditional power scriptures is probably gonna be a target.”
Which is it, Mr. Wishy Washy? Who is leading Carson around by the nose? From his drastic change of opinion in such a short period of time, it appears that Mr. Carson is highly susceptible to the power of suggestion.
Trump has a much more basic reasoning as to why he has yet to receive Secret Service protection. He made the comment on Oct. 14 that his own protection had not been approved because he’s a Republican and “they don’t give a shit.” Perhaps Trump is just an asshole without a filter and has brought the hate all by himself.
Actually, obtaining protection from the Secret Service is a little more complicated than thinking you’re an existential threat or someone actually giving a shit about you. According to the Secret Service website’s FAQS, there is a process in place:
- A written request must first be submitted to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
- The candidates must establish that they are serious and have some chance of becoming president.
- DHS will conduct a threat assessment to ascertain if there are legitimate potential dangers facing a candidate, not simply taking the candidate’s claims at face value. Threats are considered in tandem with other criteria.
- The next step involves a panel convened by Johnson to review the request. The group includes the speaker of the House, the House minority leader, both the Senate majority and minority leaders, plus an additional member selected by the Senate.
The final decision is made by Johnson, the DHS secretary. Whether or not he gives a shit, is yet to be seen.