Republican presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Ben Carson are to get their own security detail, the Secret Service said Thursday, confirming a story Newsmax broke last month.
"We can confirm that DHS (the Department of Homeland Security) has authorized Secret Service protection for both candidates," said spokesman Robert Hoback.
Newsmax reported that GOP front-runners Trump and Carson would be receiving protection and that Hillary Rodham Clinton's existing detail would be upgraded. The move came as threats to Carson were growing.
A source told Newsmax that online threats against Carson went "off the charts" after he made comments that he didn't believe a Muslim should be president. Within a few days, the Secret Service had asked Congress for approval. Trump has said he asked for protection earlier in the year.
Carson has said he believes he is a target and would accept the protection. "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 structures is probably gonna be a target," he said.
Secret Service protection is another sign that the political outsiders -- who have defied conventional wisdom to remain at the top of the polls -- are moving firmly to the mainstream.
Not all candidates receive protection, which could involve tens of agents and significant expense.
The Secret Service protects the president, but is also responsible for protecting "major presidential and vice presidential candidates."
Rules stipulate that the candidate has to have "some degree of prominence as shown by opinion polls," campaigned in 10 states and received contributions worth $10 million.
Trump and Carson reportedly asked for a detail earlier this year.
The decision was made by the Department of Homeland Security in consultation with a congressional panel that includes the speaker of the House of Representatives and the Senate majority leader.
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