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- The Secret Service is responsible for protecting the President, Vice President, and their families.
- Former Presidents and First Spouses are protected by the Secret Service for life.
- Children of former Presidents are protected by the Secret Service until a certain age.
Like all former American Presidents, Barack Obama became one of the most famous people in the world. Since the former President is so famous and charismatic, even people who are always around celebrities can be overwhelmed to meet him.
Similar to the former President, his family members are in high demand. Some examples of that include Michelle Obama being asked to appear in an iconic show and Malia Obama working on Donald Glover and Billie Eilish’s show Swarm. Unfortunately, the Obamas also have people who hate them which makes some people wonder if they still have Secret Service protection.
Who Does The Secret Service Protect?
One of America’s earliest law enforcement agencies, the Secret Service was founded to combat counterfeiting. After the 1901 assassination of President William McKinley, the Secret Service was given a second task which the agency is best known for now, protecting the President.
Since the Secret Service first began protecting the President, the list of people under their care has dramatically grown. Given that the President has constant protection, it made sense for the Vice President to be guarded by the Secret Service as well.
In addition to making sure the President and Vice President are secure at all times, the Secret Service also protects their family. In most cases, that means the Secret Service protects the spouse and children of the President and Vice President.
There is another group of people that most Americans don’t realize are protected by the Secret Service. When heads of state from other countries visit America, the Secret Service is there to make sure that nothing bad happens to them.
The Secret Service will also protect “distinguished foreign visitors to the United States”. Representatives of the United States government performing “special missions abroad” may also find themselves under Secret Service protection.
In addition to all of the above people Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates also wind up under the protection of the Secret Service. However, candidates typically are only protected by the Secret Service within 120 days of the election.
Finally, there is one other way that a person can be added to the list of the people the Secret Service protects. The sitting President of the United States can sign an executive order commanding the Secret Service to protect anyone they choose.
Since the people who are protected by the Secret Service are kept safe night and day, their security detail would be costly. The American taxpayers foot the bill for everything the Secret Service does which can add up really quickly.
With that in mind, it should go without saying that Presidents typically don’t assign the Secret Service to people without good reason. After all, the political blowback could be fierce if the President gave Secret Service protection to too many people.
Even after a President leaves office there can still be headlines about who they assigned the Secret Service to. For proof of that, all you have to do is look at the 2021 reports about President Donald Trump assigning Secret Service protection to several people.
According to a KTLA article, President Donald Trump ordered the Secret Service to protect 14 people. All 14 people on Trump’s list were to be protected by the Secret Service for the six months after he left office.
As for who Trump wanted to make sure was protected, all of them were members of his extended family. Some of the people on the list included all of Ivanka Trump’s children as well as Donald Trump Jr.’s kids.
For the most part, KTLA’s report didn’t gain too much traction. That said, given that KTLA proved that Trump had to sign an Executive Order to have his grandchildren protected, that begs an obvious question. Once a President leaves office, are their children still protected by the Secret Service?
Are Sasha Obama And Malia Obama Protected By The Secret Service For Life?
After serving eight years in office, Former President Barack Obama left the White House. Not long after President Donald Trump took power, the Secret Service’s mission went through some interesting changes. That process always takes place once a new President takes office.
Once a Vice President leaves office, the Secret Service continues to protect them for another six months. After that period ends, the default is for the Secret Service to cease protecting the former Vice President.
That said, the Department of Homeland Security can extend that period if they so choose. In the case of Joe Biden, his Secret Service protection ended six months after he and President Obama left office.
Unlike the Vice President, however, the Secret Service rules that apply to former Presidents are very different. Former First Spouses surprisingly also appear to be more important to the Secret Service than Former Vice Presidents.
In 1965, Congress passed a law that sought to keep all former Presidents safe. Thanks to that law, former Presidents are protected by the Secret Service for life at the taxpayers’ expense. Similarly, former First Spouses are also protected by the Secret Service for life.
In perhaps a surprising twist, however, there are ways for the Secret Service to give up protecting former Presidents and First Spouses. In the case of former Presidents, they can decline Secret Service protection if they so choose. In the case of First Spouses, they will lose Secret Service protection if they get remarried.
Similar to former Vice Presidents, the children of former Presidents are treated differently. Once their parent no longer is the President, First Children are treated differently depending on their age.
Former First Children continue to be protected by the Secret Service but only until they turn 16 years old.
President Donald Trump’s adult children were among the 14 people he ordered the Secret Service to protect. As soon as it was six months after Trump left office, all of his adult children lost protection.
Just like Trump’s children, Sasha Obama And Malia Obama are no longer protected by the Secret Service. The reason for that is both of President Obama’s children are now in their 20s, so they no longer qualify for Secret Service protection.