When two animal-rights activists on Tuesday rushed the Los Angeles stage where Democratic candidate Joe Biden was giving his victory speech, they had to be fended off by Biden’s wife, Jill, and campaign staffer Symone Sanders.
Where was the Secret Service?
Presidential and vice-presidential candidates automatically receive the protection within 120 days of the general election under the law. But then-Sen. Barak Obama was approved for protection in May 2007—the first time in history it was granted a presidential candidate almost two years prior to the presidential election. (His presumptive opponent, Sen. John McCain declined Secret Service protection until almost a year later.)
Now critics are wondering whether the traditional practice, especially in today’s divisive political climate, should be re-evaluated.
A photograph of Jill Biden in an “epic tussle” pushing away the “lunging vegan,” as a Washington Post headline described it, swiftly went viral. Biden, who was only momentarily nonplussed, carried on with his speech, as a security guard carried off one of the protesters, who was chanting, “Let dairy die.”
It caused a social media sensation, with one person on twitter joking, “If any NFL guards are scouting for a right guard, Jill Biden is available.”
Robert Gibbs, the former press secretary for President Obama, subsequently called for the Secret Service to protect Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, reported The Hill.
“Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden need secret service protection,” Gibbs said. “What happened tonight was nothing short of genuinely scary.”
USA Today reported that as a former vice president, Biden was entitled to Secret Service protection for up to six months after the date he left office.
“Though the Department of Homeland Security can extend that window, it did not do so in Biden’s case,” according to the paper.
The vegan group, Direct Action Everywhere, which opposes the dairy industry, had also disrupted one of Sanders’ rallies last month in Nevada.
Nancy Bilyeau is Deputy Editor of The Crime Report.