The director of the U.S. Secret Service told Congress Tuesday that it has no plans to interfere with political campaign protests -- unless the protesters get too close to the stage.
"We do not interfere with people's First Amendment rights," said Director Joseph Clancy.
Asked to address the recent rash of violent protests at rallys held by Republican front runner Donald Trump, Clancy said "some of these events create even more challenges for us."
But, he added, the protesters are "not our primary responsibility."
He cited the weekend Trump rally in Dayton, Ohio, where a protester got near Trump. "Our concern is overt acts or threats to our protectee," said Clancy.
Currently, Trump, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Sen. Bernie Sanders have Secret Service protection.
Should there be a clash with protesters at rallies, Clancy said that it is up to the event host and local authorities to decide what to do and if disruptors should be kicked out.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org