Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson will be getting Secret Service details within days, a move authorized by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.
Both candidates requested the taxpayer-paid protection about a month ago. Getting a detail is a status symbol in the presidential race — a sign that they are considered leading contenders in the GOP field and as a result can reasonably expect to be the object of threats on the campaign trail.
Some agents began hearing that they would likely be assigned to the new details this week, The Post learned Wednesday. When asked Wednesday evening, officials for both the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security said no formal decision had been made.
The homeland security secretary decided to authorize the new details today, Johnson spokeswoman Marsha Catron confirmed in a statement. The final call came after hearing recommendations Wednesday night of a special congressional advisory panel that includes the speaker of the House, the House minority leader and the Senate majority leader.
Nominated presidential candidates from both parties began getting Secret Service protection after Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968. Under a new process established in 2008, in the wake of threats against then-candidate and Sen. Barack Obama, the secretary of homeland security can decide to provide details to candidates who are front-runners in their party or who face unique threats against their safety.
The decision, which comes after consultation with the congressional advisory panel, is entirely at the secretary’s discretion. Some of the factors that are considered are national polling, primary or caucus results, amounts of contributions received and the current threat environment.