Kennedy Campaign Re-Ups Call for Protection Following Gun Incident
WASHINGTON — Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, now campaign manager to Democratic Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., urged President Biden on Monday to provide Secret Service protection to Kennedy after a man with a loaded gun showed up at a campaign event.
Kennedy was preparing to speak at a Hispanic heritage event at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, California, on Friday when a gunman posing as a U.S. marshal sought to gain entrance to the venue.
The man, whom the Los Angeles Police Department has identified as Adrian Paul Aispuro, reportedly approached a member of Kennedy’s private security detail, identified himself as a U.S. marshal, and stated “that he needed to be taken to the candidate immediately.”
Members of the security detail, provided by Gavin de Becker and Associates in Los Angeles, detained the man and called Los Angeles Police.
A spokesman for the department said police arrived at the scene at about 4:30 p.m. Pacific time and arrested a man with “a loaded gun in a shoulder holster and a badge identifying him as a U.S. marshal.
The incident took place just two miles from the site of the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Blvd., where Kennedy’s father, New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was assassinated on the night of the California primary in June 1968.
Aispuro remained in custody over the weekend in lieu of $35,000 bail for a felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon.
Kennedy posted a message about the incident on X, formerly known as Twitter, Friday evening, thanking his “alert and fast-acting protectors” for spotting and detaining Aispuro, whom the candidate described as “wearing two shoulder holsters with loaded pistols and spare ammunition magazines.”
Kennedy also said Aispuro was carrying a U.S. marshal badge on a lanyard, and added that he also appeared to have a “belt clip federal ID.”
“He identified himself as a member of my security detail. Armed GDBA team members moved quickly to isolate and detain the man until LAPD arrived to make the arrest. I’m also grateful to LAPD for its rapid response,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy went on to say he still hopes Biden will allow him Secret Service protection.
“I am the first presidential candidate in history to whom the White House has denied a request for protection,” he added.
On Monday, Kucinich wrote to Biden that “the threat level to our candidate, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., is increasing every day.”
“He is not the only one in danger — every person who attends a campaign event is at risk. A specter of violence haunts our political process,” Kucinich continued. “Indeed, political assassinations pose a grave threat to democracy. It is not hard to imagine the civil chaos and political disintegration that could ensue with the return of the kind of assassinations of public officials and presidential candidates that marred the 1960s.
“This ever-present threat of violence is something you are well aware of given the security requirements for you and members of your family,” he said. “It is astonishing that under such circumstances, you would deny Secret Service coverage to Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has polled more than 20% in the first five primary states, and whose net favorability rating exceeds both yours and Donald Trump’s.”
Before he closed, Kucinich observed that the “American psyche still bears the scars” of the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
“They sent America into a tailspin from which many believe the country has not yet recovered,” he said.
Kucinich then made a personal plea.
“I served in Congress for 16 years and joined you on the campaign trail in one of two efforts I made to gain the Democratic nomination. You and I have known each other for more than 50 years,” he said. “I know that you do not want to see America reeling again from the consequences of another political assassination. Therefore, I ask you in the spirit of patriotism, of fairness and of good conscience to grant Robert F. Kennedy Jr. the Secret Service protection that his circumstances so obviously warrant.”
Kennedy’s applications for Secret Service protection, one filed in May and another in August, have both been rejected. The campaign plans to apply a third time this month.