Donald Trump and his family members were left “rattled” by protests as demonstrators moved close to the White House on Friday. Trump and his family were briefly rushed into an underground bunker, a new report claims.
The New York Times reported on the tensions that rose within the White House over the weekend as some of the nationwide protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death intensified and demonstrations in Washington, D.C. moved closer to the president’s residence. The report claims on Friday night as some protesters moved close to the White House, Secret Service members rushed Trump to an underground bunker that in the past had been used during terrorist attacks.
The situation left Trump uncharacteristically quiet, the report claimed.
“After days in which the empathy he expressed for George Floyd, the man killed, was overshadowed by his combative threats to ramp up violence against looters and rioters, Mr. Trump spent Sunday out of sight, even as some of his campaign advisers were recommending that he deliver a nationally televised address before another night of possible violence,” the report noted. “The building was even emptier than usual as some White House officials planning to work were told not to come in case of renewed unrest.”
The report added that messaging from the White House appeared mixed, with some advisers reportedly trying to map out a more deliberate messaging strategy while Trump was “blasting out a string of messages” on Twitter that attacked Democrats for not cracking down strongly enough on protesters.
Trump had garnered controversy earlier in the week for tweets that called violent protesters “thugs,” a word that critics said carried a racially charged connotation. Trump also appeared to endorse the idea of the U.S. military being called in to quell unrest and authorizing them to use deadly force on looters.
As some in the White House reportedly pushed for Trump to make an address to the nation in the midst of the unrest, the president instead delivered short messages to reporters and took aim at far-left groups as well as the loosely organized anti-fascist group Antifa.
In a message on Sunday, Trump said that he would be declaring Antifa as a terrorist organization, despite this being a loose collection of people identifying themselves as anarchists and not having an organizational structure, The New York Times noted. As the report added, it was unclear if Trump had the legal authority to declare Antifa as a terrorist group, as American law applies this designation only to foreign entities.