Donald Trump was evacuated to his White House bunker last weekend - here's why

Monday, 1st June 2020, 3:32 pm
Updated Monday, 1st June 2020, 3:51 pm
Donald Trump was evacuated to the White House bunker on Friday as protests raged outside (Getty Images)

US President Donald Trump was rushed to a White House bunker by Secret Service agents as hundreds of people protested the death of George Floyd on Friday.

Thousands gathered outside the President’s residence, with some throwing rocks and tugging at police barricades.

According to a Republican President Trump spent nearly an hour in the bunker, designed for use in emergencies like terrorist attacks. The Republican in question spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The source's account was confirmed by an administration official who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

Why was Donald Trump evacuated?

It is understood that the decision was made as Secret Service agents and law enforcement officers struggled to contain crowds.

The protests were triggered by the death of Mr Floyd, a black man who died after he was pinned at the neck by a white Minneapolis police officer.

The demonstrations in the US capital turned violent and appeared to catch officers by surprise, sparking one of the highest alerts on the White House complex since the September 11 attacks in 2001 .

White House spokesperson Judd Deere and the Secret Service refused to comment on the incident.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, though Secret Service protocol would have called for all those under the agency's protection to be in the underground shelter.

According to the Republican source who spoke with the Associated Press, the President and his family are shaken by the protests.

Protests ongoing

Mr Trump travelled to Florida on Saturday to view the first manned space launch from the US in nearly a decade. He returned to a White House under virtual siege, with protesters - some violent - gathered just a few hundred yards away through much of the night.

Demonstrators returned Sunday afternoon, facing off against police at Lafayette Park into the evening.

As cities burned night after night and images of violence dominated television coverage, Mr Trump's advisers discussed the prospect of an Oval Office address in an attempt to ease tensions.

But the notion was quickly scrapped for lack of policy proposals and the president's own seeming disinterest in delivering a message of unity.

In recent days security at the White House has been reinforced by the National Guard and additional personnel from the Secret Service and the US Park Police.

On Sunday, the Justice Department deployed members of the US 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 who spoke anonymously.