UPDATE: 6:54 p.m. – March 5
The question of whether or not former Vice President Joe Biden has security arose after protesters attempted to crash the rally stage while the Democratic presidential candidate gave a speech in California on Super Tuesday. NPR White House reporter Geoff Bennett tweeted that there hasn’t been any candidates to request protection.
Out of all the political groups to protest, it’s pretty clear animal rights groups do not play. They will happily storm a stage to get their point across. However, one anti-dairy protestor at a Joe Biden event might not have considered his senior advisor Symone Sanders and his wife Jill Biden as the team of defense for the presidential candidate. It begs the question, does Biden have an official security team in place?
Biden was giving his speech at a rally in Los Angeles after winning big during Super Tuesday, including Virginia, Alabama, Minnesota, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
“Let’s get something straight. Wall Street didn’t build this country. You built this country,” Biden started. “The middle class built this country. And unions built the middle class.”
Right before Biden could finish his next sentence, a protestor holding a “let dairy die” sign ran onstage and she was pulled away by a security guard. Meanwhile, Jill Biden immediately shielded her husband with her body.
However, the protest didn’t stop here. Soon, a second protestor stormed the stage from behind and Jill grabbed the protestor by the wrists and pushed them away. Symone Sanders also joined the effort by storming the stage and grabbing the protestor to drag her offstage. Dressed in a striped blazer, it was quite the visual.
You can check out the incident for yourself below.
Many people on Twitter praised the women for their quick reaction and some folks even had jokes, saying Sanders was in “linebacker mode” and she should become the “Secretary of Defense.”
The posts for Jill Biden were even more comical, especially considering the freeze frames of the video.
Sanders reacted to the viral video in fun, tweeting, “I broke a nail.”
Meanwhile, Jill Biden also had a simple post. “What a night,” she tweeted, along with a picture of her and her husband at the L.A. event.
Despite Biden once being the vice president to Barack Obama, he doesn’t receive a lifetime of Secret Service protection like former and future presidents do. According to USA Today, Biden was entitled to Secret Service protection for up to six months after the day he left office. The Department of Homeland Security could have extended this window, but they didn’t do so for Biden.
During election season, “major” presidential and vice-presidential candidates can automatically receive Secret Service protection within 120 days of the general election under the law. In practice, a lot of candidates receive it much earlier in the campaign trail. The decision isn’t up to the Secret Service, but rather via consultation between the DHS secretary and congressional leaders.
The DHS considers factors like whether the candidate is polling at 15% or higher for at least 30 days, according to the U.S. Secret Service website. Campaigns also have to request the service and sometimes they chose not to because it can make it hard to connect with voters. Before Obama was elected president, he received Secret Service detail in mid-2007, months before he won the 2008 Democratic nomination.
Biden could follow suit, especially considering this recent incident. Until then, it seems like he’ll be fine with a security guard, Symone Sanders and Jill Biden.