As hundreds of protesters gathered outside the White House on Friday, President Donald Trump moved to an underground bunker by the Secret Service. First Lady Melania Trump and their son Barron Trump were also taken to the bunker, designed to house the President and the first family in case of an emergency, such as a terrorist attack.
The situation escalated outside the White House on Friday as protesters gathered over the brutal killing of George Floyd by white police officers in Minneapolis. They sloganeered, threw rocks and tried to climb barricades as the police and Secret Service agents tried to control them. Trump was in the bunker for an hour, according to a Republican close to the White House, Associated Press reported. This was verified by an administration official, on the condition of anonymity.
On Saturday morning, Trump hit out against the protesters, who according to him "had little to do with the memory of George Floyd". "They were just there to cause trouble". He lauded the Secret Service for handling the protesters. "They were not only totally professional, but very cool. I was inside, watched every move, and couldn't have felt more safe", he wrote in another tweet.
But right after the New York Times broke the story of Trump being taken to the bunker, he tweeted "Fake News". However, it isn't clear if it was in response to the story.
In a statement, the Secret Service has said that over 60 US Secret Service Uniformed Division officers and special agents have been hurt during the protests outside the White House, starting from Friday night through Sunday morning, CNN reported. They were hurt when "projectiles such as bricks, rocks, bottles, fireworks and other items" were thrown at them by the protesters. They were physically assaulted as well, as they were "kicked, punched and exposed to bodily fluids".
The White House Underground Bunker
In case of an emergency, such as a terrorist attack, the Secret Service moves the President and the first family present at the White House, to the underground bunker, known as the Presidential Emergency Operations Center. It was used to house Vice President Dick Cheney during the 9/11 attacks. President George W. Bush wasn't rushed there as he was not present in Washington DC at that time, DailyMail reported.
In April 2005, Bush was moved to the bunker in anticipation of an attack, which turned out to be a false alarm. Since the 9/11 attack, it has been fortified to withstand a jetliner crashing into it.