President Donald Trump said Wednesday that while he did go down to the White House bunker last Friday, he did so before protests hit peak intensity, and then only for a “short inspection,” not to take refuge.
Trump told Fox News host Brian Kilmeades radio show on Wednesday that multiple media reports characterizing the presidents descent into the bunker as driven by fear for his personal safety were inaccurate.
“It was a false report,” Trump said, adding, “I went down during the day and I was there for a tiny, little short period of time and it was much more for an inspection.”
Trump denied that he went into the bunker at the urging of his Secret Service detail, contradicting a New York Times article that first reported the alleged incident, citing anonymous sources. They claimed the president and his family members were whisked to safety at the insistence of agents as initially peaceful protests over the police custody death of George Floyd grew violent.
The Associated Press later reported, also citing anonymous sources, that Trump spent about an hour in the shelter on Friday night, as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the executive mansion, some of them throwing rocks and tugging at police barricades.
In his conversation with Kilmeade, Trump insisted that his presence in the bunker, also known as the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, was during the day and had a different purpose than was widely reported.
“They told me to go down and take a look just to check it out,” Trump said, adding, “I cant tell you who went with me but a whole group of people went with me, as an inspecting factor, I was back up, and, Brian, it was during the day, it wasnt during the night.”
The scale of the coast-to-coast protests following the death of Floyd have rivaled the historic demonstrations of the civil rights and Vietnam War eras. Yet many demonstrations that started off peaceful during the day after nightfall degenerated into chaotic scenes of looting, fire-setting, and violence.
Curfews have been imposed in major cities around the United States, and thousands of National Guard soldiers and airmen were activated in states across America.
Blaming far-left radicals and anarchists for hijacking the protests, Trump has called for a tough law enforcement response to quell the violence, even warning that he might invoke the Insurrection Act to send in soldiers to keep the peace.
While Defense Secretary Mark Esper authorized the movement of around 1,300 active-duty Army personnel to military bases just outside Washington, he told reporters on Wednesday that he did not Read More From Source