Obama staffer calls for Secret Service protection after Joe Biden’s wife and adviser take down protester

Stage invasion by animal liberation activists foiled in scuffle that went viral

Andrew Naughtie
Wednesday 04 March 2020 13:32
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Joe Biden's adviser wrestles protesters off stage

A former adviser to Barack Obama has called for this year’s presidential candidates to get secret service protection after Joe Biden’s wife and a senior adviser jointly tackled an animal welfare protester at his Super Tuesday victory rally.

Jill Biden and Symone Sanders leapt into action when two protesters crashed the stage from behind the candidate, Ms Biden grabbing the second woman’s wrists while Ms Sanders locked her into a tackle and dragged her from the stage.

Video of the incident quickly went viral, with users sharing slowed-down videos narrating the Biden-Sanders team effort.

Ms Sanders tweeted: “I broke a nail.”

As footage of the incident spread, Obama-era White House press secretary Robbie Gibbs said with both Mr Biden and his fellow presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders having recently faced stage invasions, the two candidates needed secret service protection to be kept safe.

“Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden need Secret Service protection,” Gibbs told MSNBC. “What happened tonight was nothing short of genuinely scary. It’s happened to Senator Sanders and others on this trail.

“Those two candidates are the likely Democratic nominee. They should have Secret Service protection in the next 24 to 48 hours.”

Mr Biden was entitled to protection for six months after leaving office. Under the law, presidential candidates usually receive it within 120 days of the general election, but they can receive it earlier in the cycle if they ask for it and if they meet various criteria.

During the 2016 election, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had to be protected from protesters at their rallies.

Mr Trump, however, was also criticised for condoning violence among his supporters towards protesters and journalists. He also called for the agents protecting Ms Clinton to “drop all weapons” and “see what happens to her”.

The protesters who rushed the stage at Mr Biden’s rally reportedly represent California-based animal liberation group Direct Action Everywhere.

Protesters from the group have interrupted various campaign events, including a Bernie Sanders rally where a woman calling herself his “biggest supporter” grabbed the microphone and implored him to “stop propping up the dairy industry”.

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