Ivanka Trump's Secret Service Protection Is A Bit Of A Mystery

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 14: Ivanka Trump Visits 'FOX & Friends' at FOX Studios on September 14, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)
Source: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

On Monday, officials confirmed that Ivanka Trump has received Secret Service protection, but it's unclear exactly why the controversial candidate's daughter has received the detail. According to TIME, the official who confirmed Ivanka's protection did not give a reason for the Department of Homeland Security's decision, and the Trump campaign had not made a statement as of Monday night. But regardless of the reason, Ivanka's protection could mark the first time that a detail for a presidential candidate's daughter has been instituted.

Back in November, Trump himself became one of the first presidential candidates to receive a Secret Service detail. Along with Republican challenger Ben Carson, Trump received his Secret Service protection months before the first Republican primaries and caucuses. Ivanka's protection comes just about a month and a half before the general election, which takes place this November.

As it turns out, it's not unusual for the Secret Service to refrain from giving a reason for an individual's detail. The Secret Service does not make its own decisions about whom to protect and when to initiate a detail. Rather, the agency takes its direction from the Department of Homeland Security and, namely, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. In deciding whether or not to protect a presidential candidate, the department typically considers the prominence of the candidate, the amount of money raised by the candidate's campaign, and the threat level of the candidate's environment, according to the Secret Service website.

Although it's not clear why Ivanka has received the detail, her protection means that someone within the Trump family or campaign must have requested such protection for the potential first daughter. The Secret Service can only initiate a detail under the direction of the secretary, and it's the secretary's job (among many other things) to approve candidates' requests for details. It probably shouldn't be surprising that there was a request made, though. Throughout the campaign, Ivanka has become one of Trump's closest advisers, helping him to have a voice on progressive issues like paid family leave.

Ivanka's Secret Service detail seems to be somewhat of an anomaly, though. It's common for the Secret Service to protect presidential candidates and their spouses — according to the agency, that tradition has been around since just after the assassination of Robert Kennedy in 1968. However, the law that gives the Secret Service the power to guard presidential candidates only specifies that candidates' spouses may be protected. It does not mention children — particularly adult children, like Ivanka.

Regardless of the reason for Ivanka's detail, does it mean that voters will see more of her on the campaign trail? There may be no connection, but she has taken a much more public role in her father's campaign as of late. She gave a rousing introduction of her father at the Republican National Convention in July, followed up by a policy announcement on behalf of her father's campaign last week. Perhaps her currently unknown code name will reflect the liberalizing nature of her impact on Trump's campaign.

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