Trump and family were rushed to White House bunker as George Floyd protesters clashed with security forces
As the US continued to witness violent protests over the brutal death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week, the White House felt the heat. On Friday, May 29, Secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump and his family to an underground bunker at their official residence to protect against the possibility of terror attacks. According to a report in The New York Times, it was not clear the specific reason that made the Secret Service make the move, which is deemed extraordinary. The first family though was reportedly ‘rattled’.
The bunker, called the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), is located underneath the East Wing of the White House that is used to protect the US president and other top officials in case of an emergency. The first White House bunker was made during the Second World War to protect then-president Franklin D Roosevelt in the event of an aerial aggression on Washington. During the 9/11 attacks, a number of top officials of the George W Bush administration, including vice president Dick Cheney, were shifted to the PEOC while the president himself was in Florida at the time. However, Bush was rushed to the bunker in April 2005 over fears that a suspicious plane was heading for the White House though it turned out to be a false alarm.
The NYT report added that Trump and his family and aides ‘seemed taken off guard’ by the sights of several protesters approaching the Secret Service and US Park Police officers just across the street from the president’s official residence. The report, however, added that the high-profile people were never in any real danger. Trump later slammed the protest in a series of tweets in which he said the so-called protesters were professionally managed and had little to do with Floyd’s death. He praised the Secret Service personnel over their handling of the situation.
The White House refused to provide details about the incident with Judd Deere, a spokesperson told the Daily Mail on Sunday: “The White House does not comment on security protocols and decisions.”
Demonstrations broke out near the White House and National Guard troops were deployed as violence continued on Saturday, May 30, over the Floyd incident and Trump’s controversial response to it. Hundreds of protesters converged on the White House and while marching along the National Mall, chanted “Black Lives Matter,” “I can't breathe” and “No justice, no peace.” Floyd died after police officers pinned him to the ground with one cop pressing his knee against his neck, leaving him gasping for breath.
On Saturday, a day after he was pushed to the bunker, the president exhibited defiance, saying the protesters near the White House would be attacked by “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons” if they tried to break through the barricades. Earlier, his tweet saying “when looting starts, shooting starts” to slam the violent protests in Minneapolis in the wake of Floyd’s death also stirred controversy.
The Secret Service released a statement to CNN late on Sunday, May 31, to say that more than 60 of its agents and officers required medical treatment after they clashed with the protesters who threw bottles and bricks at them.