Secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump to a White House bunker on Friday night as hundreds of protesters and rioters gathered outside the executive mansion, throwing rocks, setting fires and attacking police barricades.
Trump spent nearly an hour in the bunker, according to a Republican close to the White House who was not authorized to publicly discuss private matters and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The account was confirmed by an administration official who also spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Friday’s protests were triggered by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after he was pinned at the neck by a white Minneapolis police officer.
As in many other cities across the nation, the demonstrations in Washington turned violent, sparking one of the highest alerts on the White House complex since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“The White House does not comment on security protocols and decisions,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said.
The Secret Service said it does not discuss the means and methods of its protective operations.
It was not immediately clear if first lady Melania Trump and the couple’s 14-year-old son, Barron, joined the president in the bunker. Secret Service protocol would have called for all those under the agency’s protection to be in the underground shelter.
Trump has told advisers he worries about his safety, while both privately and publicly praising the work of the Secret Service.
The Secret Service said dozens of its agents were injured in the weekend’s rioting.
“Between Friday night and Sunday morning, more than 60 Secret Service Uniformed Division Officers and Special Agents sustained multiple injuries from projectiles such as bricks, rocks, bottles, fireworks and other items,” it said in a statement on its website.
Trump traveled to Florida on Saturday to view the first manned space launch from the U.S. in nearly a decade.
In a speech at Kennedy Space Center, the president spoke about Floyd’s death and urged protests to be peaceful.
“The death of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis was a grave tragedy,” he said. “It should never have happened. It has filled Americans all over the country with horror, anger and grief.”
“I understand the pain that people are feeling,” Trump said. “We support the right of peaceful protesters, and we hear their pleas. But what we are now seeing on the streets of our cities has nothing to do with justice or with peace.
“The memory of George Floyd is being dishonored by rioters, looters and anarchists. The violence and vandalism is being led by antifa and other radical left-wing groups who are terrorizing the innocent, destroying jobs, hurting businesses and burning down buildings.
“The main victims of these horrible, horrible situations are the citizens who live in these once lovely communities. The mobs are devastating the life’s work of good people and destroying their dreams. Right now, America needs creation, not destruction; cooperation, not contempt; security, not anarchy. And there will be no anarchy. Civilization must be cherished, defended and protected.”
He returned to a White House under virtual siege, with protesters and rioters gathered just a few hundred yards away through much of the night.
.@AP photographers are capturing the scene as protesters start fires near the White House and tensions with police mount during a third straight night of demonstrations.
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 1, 2020
Demonstrators returned Sunday afternoon, facing off against police at Lafayette Park into the evening.
In recent days, security at the White House has been reinforced by the National Guard and additional personnel from the Secret Service and the U.S. Park Police.
On Sunday, the Justice Department deployed members of the U.S. Marshals Service and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration to supplement National Guard troops outside the White House, according to a senior Justice Department official. The official could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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