U.S. police under scrutiny as protests erupt
President Donald Trump said he didn’t go to a secure bunker for his safety as protesters clashed with police outside the White House, but “much more for an inspection.”
“Well, that was a false report,” Trump said Wednesday on Brian Kilmeade’s Fox News Radio show. “I was there for a tiny, little short period of time. It was much more for an inspection.”
A person familiar with the matter described the situation differently to Bloomberg News, saying Trump was moved to a secure area late Friday as a condition “red” was declared at the White House amid violent protests. The demonstrations were over the killing of George Floyd, a black man, while in police custody in Minneapolis.
In a condition “red,” nobody is allowed in or out of the White House complex, staff are directed to minimize movements inside and enhanced protections are put in place for the president’s family.
“I’ve gone down two or three times all for inspection. And you go there, some day you may need it. But you go there, I went down, I looked at it. It was during the day,” the president said.
It’s not clear whether the precaution was repeated in two subsequent nights of protest around the White House. Protesters weren’t as close to the fence around the White House complex on Saturday and Sunday as they were on Friday.
Trump, who voiced his frustration with the reports, on Monday walked to St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House to be photographed holding a Bible. Before Trump left the White House, police cleared away protesters using munitions that witnesses said included tear gas, rubber bullets and flash-bang devices, plunging the president into another election-year controversy.