WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) — American voters and pundits say they've never seen a presidential campaign quite like this.
With five months to go before the general election, violence is breaking out at an alarming rate at presidential campaign rallies.
Dr. Tyrone Powers and Dan Bongino are two Secret Service experts who say that when it comes to safety, this presidential race is already taxing those men and women protecting the candidates.
The right to free speech became a free-for-all before a Donald Trump rally in San Jose, California, on June 2. Police in full riot gear advanced on angry protestors and broke up street fights. Hats and flags were set on fire. One woman was pelted by eggs. Several arrests were made.
"It's a major drain on Secret Service manpower," said Dr. Powers. "Everyone is being called in to deal with the different types of threats they're facing.
The Secret Service has already dealt with several threats on the 2016 campaign trail.
In March, agents surrounded Donald Trump after a man rushed his podium.
On June 2, a man was yanked offstage at a Bernie Sanders rally while Secret Service members had to protect the Democratic presidential hopeful for the second time in a week.
"I mean, they were always prepared for someone storming the stage obviously." said Dan Bongino; a former Secret Service agent for 12 years. "But it's a different level of attention when it's happening on a regular basis. This is the United States of America this isn't Venezuela."
Experts say already several disruptions have caused the Secret Service to rely on other agencies like the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service to investigate law-breakers. All this while they still have to protect the president, scan for weapons at rallies and be one step ahead of terrorist attacks.
"I'm not suggesting they can't handle this," Bongino commented. "I'm just suggesting it's an ugly nightmare ongoing for the Secret Service."
As the summer quickly approaches and the Democratic and Republican conventions play out next month in Philadelphia and Cleveland, experts say they expect a combustible atmosphere as passions and rhetoric heat up.
"Everyone involved in the protection of these particular people are certainly worried that violence could increase as we move closer to those dates," said Powers.