After Democratic nominee Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, Congress changed the law to authorize Secret Service protection for major candidates.

Major presidential and vice presidential candidates are determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security after consultation with an advisory committee.

“The American people, no matter their politics, will find this decision shocking and repugnant,” Kennedy campaign manager Dennis Kucinich said in a statement. “This is obviously a political decision, not a legal one. As such, this is directly on President Biden. It is absolutely implausible that the President would try to claim that he was not consulted by his cabinet secretary on a matter as sensitive as this.”

The Secret Service did not respond to a request for comment.

Former President Barack Obama received Secret Service protection in May 2007, an “unusually early step,” The New York Times noted at the time. Former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul rejected Secret Service protection in 2012, calling it a “form of welfare.”

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