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Indian-American presidential aspirant Nikki Haley asks Secret Service protection citing threats

This comes after two swatting incidents were reported in recent months at her home in South Carolina, one of which happened while her parents were there. Haley has asserted that such incidents will not deter her from "doing what she needs to do".

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Washington Published on: February 06, 2024 19:58 IST
US elections, Nikki Haley, Secret Service protection
Image Source : AP Indian-American Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley.

Washington: Nikki Haley, the Indian-origin Republican presidential candidate who is the last remaining challenger to former US President Donald Trump in the November elections, has reportedly sought Secret Service protection citing increasing threats she has received during her campaign. However, Haley's campaign did not specific threats or when she applied for the protection.

The Secret Service provides protection only after it is authorised by the Secretary of Homeland Security, who consults with a congressional advisory committee. Haley's request comes after there were reports of two swatting incidents in recent months at her home in South Carolina, one of which happened while her parents were there.

Haley was recently asked about a heightened security presence at her events last week, to which she replied, "When you do something like this, you get threats. It’s just the reality, and that’s OK... Part of running for public life is that you’re going to deal with the threats that are there. That’s not going to deter me".

“Does it mean we have to put a few more bodies around us? Yes, that’s fine," she added, asserting that she will not be stopped from "doing what she needs to do" inspite of the threats. Haley, who trails in opinion polls to Trump, 77, has been urged by the ex-president to exit the race and unify the party against Democrat Joe Biden.

Secret Service protection is granted to "major" candidates under federal law, usually when they look certain to become their party's nominee. As a former US president, Trump gets Secret Service protection for life. In May 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama was placed under protection after a congressional committee recommended it, given the rising number of threats against him.

The US presidential runoff 

As the US presidential race heats up ahead of the GOP's primary in South Carolina on February 23, Haley coined a new slogan for her campaign - Make America Normal Again! - and referred to Trump and Biden as "grumpy old men". Haley is trailing behind former President Donald Trump by more than 30 points in her home state but remains confident of a strong showing.

Former US president Donald Trump has won the first two GOP primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire, tightening his grip on the Republican presidential nomination and bolstering chances of a 2020 rematch with President Joe Biden. The results were a setback for Haley, despite a stronger-than-expected performance, as she was rooting to cut into Trump's margins and had invested significant time and financial resources into winning New Hampshire.

Trump’s position in the contest is remarkable considering he faces 91 criminal charges related to everything from seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election to mishandling classified documents and arranging payoffs to an adult film star. However, the former President turned those obstacles into an advantage among Republican voters, by arguing that the Justice Department was politicised and he was framed for a "witch-hunt". This seemed to have a considerable impact considering his landslide win in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries recently.

On the other hand, Biden secured a sweeping victory in the South Carolina Democratic primary, winning over 96 per cent of the votes, and the President vowed to make Trump a 'loser' again. Biden faces his own slew of challenges, particularly over concerns about his age at 81 years old. Dissent is also building within his party over Biden’s alliance with Israel in its war against Hamas, putting the president’s standing at risk in swing states like Michigan.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | 'Make America Normal Again': Nikki Haley's new slogan as US presidential race heats up


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