The president has been widely criticized for his response to the demonstrations, preferring tweets over a national address.
Crowds protest outside the White House following the death of George Floyd. Photograph: Jim Bourg/Reuters
As protests sparked by the death of George Floyd raged outside the White House on Friday night, Donald Trump was taken into a special secure bunker.
Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on Monday, has sparked unrest and protests in dozens of cities across the US, including Washington DC. Demonstrators have gathered outside the White House since Friday night, with clashes erupting intermittently outside the very perimeter of the White House.
As protesters converged on the White House on Friday, the New York Times reports, “Secret Service agents abruptly rushed the president to the underground bunker used in the past during terrorist attacks.” Hardened to withstand the force of a passenger jet crashing into the White House, the bunker is the same one that sheltered vice president Dick Cheney during the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. “The president and his family were rattled by their experience on Friday night, according to several advisers,” the Times report said.
Trump has been widely criticized for his response to the protests that have rocked the nation since video of Floyd’s death began spreading on social media. Despite days of peaceful protests and violent clashes with police in some of America’s major cities, Trump has not addressed the nation and has repeatedly sent inflammatory messages over Twitter. Late on Friday, Trump tweeted that protesters could have been attacked with “vicious dogs and ominous weapons” wielded by the US Secret Service and accused the DC mayor for supposedly not providing police to protect the White House.
“They let the ‘protesters’ scream and rant as much as they wanted, but whenever someone got too frisky or out of line, they would quickly come down on them, hard – didn’t know what hit them,” Trump said.
“If they had [breached the fence],” the president continued, “they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen. That’s when people would have been really badly hurt, at least.”
The president has spoken to George Floyd’s grieving family, but according to Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, the conversation was brief. “He didn’t give me an opportunity to even speak,” Floyd told MSNBC.
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