A video showed a man engulfed in flames after setting himself on fire in a park just outside the White House grounds.
The incident took place on Wednesday at close to 12:20 p.m. in an area just south of the White House. Not all details were clear, but the Secret Service tweeted about the incident, noting that the agency had responded to the flaming man.
“At approximately 12:20 p.m. a man lit himself on fire on the Ellipse near 15th and Constitution Ave., Secret Service personnel are on scene assisting @NatlParkService and @usparkpolicepio in rendering first aid,” the agency wrote on Twitter.
Video of the full incident is included in The Daily Mail’s coverage, but be warned that it may be disturbing for some viewers.
As Fox News reported, witnesses saw the still-unidentified person running through the park before setting himself on fire. Later in the video, the man was totally engulfed in flames and walking in the park. The man later fell to the ground as a police officer ran to him with a fire extinguisher, putting out the flames.
Donald Trump was in the White House at the time, where he was conducting a swearing-in ceremony in the Oval Office for the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, The Daily Mail noted.
While it was not clear why the man set himself ablaze, or what evidence showed that the act was intentional, self-immolation has traditionally been used as a form of protest against severe injustices.
Roughly an hour before the man set himself on fire, special counsel Robert Mueller held his first public press conference to discuss the results of the Russia report, emphasizing that they did not declare Donald Trump innocent of the charges and noting that it was against Department of Justice policy to indict a sitting president. Many saw the statement as calling on Congress to decide whether Trump should be charged; the same conclusion that was spelled out in the report.
It was not clear if the events were linked.
Others have targeted the grounds near the White House for similar protests. In April, a man in a wheelchair-type electric scooter set his jacket on fire near the fence that surrounds the White House.
As he exits, Mueller suggests only Congress can "formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing." https://t.co/Jds1Lhrskt
— Robert Costa (@costareports) May 29, 2019
Police did not release the name of the man who set himself on fire outside the White House on Wednesday. The man had been transported to a nearby hospital and was listed in critical condition in the hours after the incident.