It’s a strange sight: TSA agents with their distinctive blue uniforms and blue latex gloves searching through the clothes and bags of attendees at Trump rallies. But it’s not Trump’s idea. And it’s not just for Trump events.
The TSA’s presence is a result of requests made by the Secret Service for assistance at presidential rallies, debates, and other political events. As of March 30th, the latest data made available to Gizmodo from the TSA, the agency has been present at 252 presidential campaign events during this cycle. A whopping 104 of those were just for Trump.
“The support comes from the TSA at the local airport and does not impact local TSA operations,” a TSA spokesperson told Gizmodo via email. Local law enforcement are also present at each event.
So what about the Democrats? The TSA gave assistance to the Secret Service at 47 events with Hillary Clinton, and 64 with Bernie Sanders. The remaining events were for Ben Carson (26), who has now dropped out of the race, and joint debates between the various candidates.
Ted Cruz and John Kasich, the other remaining Republican presidential hopefuls have not had TSA agents present at their events as of March 30th, according to the documents provided to Gizmodo. It’s unclear why not, as the TSA wouldn’t comment on why the Secret Service asks for assistance. One speculates that it might have to do with the size of a given event (Trump attracts huge crowds, as does Sanders and Clinton) but we don’t know for sure.
Gizmodo has reached out to the Secret Service for comment and will update this post if we hear back.