The Secret Service says its agents did not remove the group of 30 black students escorted out of a Donald Trump campaign rally in Georgia on Monday. According to a CNN report, “They were asked to leave by the host committee and local law enforcement. We do not escort protesters (or) disruptors out of events,” said one Secret Service agent at the event, speaking on background. “[It’s] not a Secret Service function and [campaign] staff knows that.”
Secret Service spokesman Kevin Dye said agents were present and routinely monitor such situations, but don’t actively remove protesters. The students, who were standing silently at the top of bleachers, were visibly upset as they were escorted out by Secret Service agents at Valdosta State University, the Des Moines Register reports. “They said, ‘This is Trump’s property; it’s a private event.’ But I paid my tuition to be here,” said Tahjila Davis, 19. Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said the campaign did not ask for the students to be removed. “There is zero truth to that,” she told CNN. The Republican frontrunner has come under fire after he did not immediately condemn support from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
Valdosta police chief Brian Childress confirmed Monday that local police and the Secret Service were not involved in the decision to give the students the boot. “These folks were told to leave the PE complex by the Trump detail,” he said.