MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ivanka Trump is now reportedly being protected by the Secret Service. By law, spouses of major candidates are given protection, but it’s rare for a child to be given his or her own detail.
So, who does the Secret Service protect? Good Question.
Under federal law, the Secret Service protects the president, president-elect, vice president, vice president-elect and their immediate families. They also give details to former presidents for life, their spouses and children under age 16.
Foreign heads of state and their spouses visiting the United States are given protection as well as major presidential and vice presidential candidates and their spouses. The Secret Service is also the lead federal agency for high-profile events designated as National Special Security Events by the Department of Homeland Security, like the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.
It’s not clear how many people that includes, but the Secret Service was given $920 million in 2014 to protect people, buildings and some high-profile events.
A president, by executive order, can also grant additional protection to people.
The Secret Service was created in 1865 as part of the Treasury Department. It wasn’t until after the assassination of President McKinley in 1901 that the Secret Service officially protected the president.
“It’s really evolved over time,” says David Schultz, a professor of political science at Hamline University. “We’re really not seeing Secret Service protection in terms of expanding until the 20th century and the biggest expansion really occurs in 1968 after Robert Kennedy was assassinated.”
In 1968, the Secret Service started protecting major presidential and vice presidential candidates. Major is defined by the Department of Homeland Security as being publicly announced, having some prominence in polls, being on the ballot in 10 states and having received $10 million in contributions. Candidate protection is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security after consulting with an advisory group of U.S. House and Senate leaders.
Secret Service protection for the president and vice president of the United States is mandatory. Anyone else with a Secret Service detail may decline it.