Indian-American presidential aspirant Nikki Haley, the last remaining rival to Donald Trump in the Republican primary race, has sought US Secret Service protection, citing increasing threats she has received, according to media reports.
Haley’s campaign said he has applied for Secret Service protection but did not detail when the request for protection was made, CNN reported.
The campaign also did not disclose any specific threats that prompted the request.
The Secret Service provides protection only after it is authorised by the Secretary of Homeland Security, who consults with a congressional advisory committee.
There were reports of two swatting incidents in recent months at 52-year-old Haley’s home in South Carolina, one of which occurred while her parents were there.
Haley, a South Carolina governor, currently uses personal security while campaigning. Local police are also present at events. Haley was recently asked about a heightened security presence at her events, telling reporters in Columbia, South Carolina, last week that “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,” Haley said at the time. “Does it mean we have to put a few more bodies around us? Yes, that’s fine.”
Haley has had a heightened security presence with her for roughly a week.
Haley told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that her campaign has “had multiple issues.”
“It’s not going to stop me from doing what I need to do,” she said.
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.