As the report noted, the decision came as protests in nearby Lafayette Square were beginning to grow raucous, with crowds of demonstrators aiming to pull down a statue of President Andrew Jackson. The report noted that the protesters, who also spray-painted nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church with the letters “BHAZ” for “Black House Autonomous Zone,” were eventually pushed out of the park by police.
Reports indicated that some of the protesters were trying to establish an “autonomous zone” near the White House, as some protesters have done in a small stretch of downtown Seattle.
While it was not clear why reporters were ordered to leave the White House grounds on Monday, the CNN report noted that Secret Service took precautionary measures to protect Donald Trump when previous protests grew violent nearby. As The Inquisitr reported, a “rattled” Trump was taken to a secured underground bunker as protesters pushed down a barrier near the grounds of the White House in late May.
The event led to ridicule for Trump, with many critics seizing on the move and claiming that the president was unable to handle the crisis that has played out as protesters take to the streets nationwide in a call for an end to systemic racism. Trump later said he was only going to the bunker to inspect it. However, Attorney General William Barr contradicted him in a later interview, saying Trump and his family were taken to the bunker for their safety based on the recommendations of Secret Service.
As CNN noted, there were new and strict safety measures put in place following Trump’s trip to the bunker.
“Following that episode, the White House cautioned staffers who must go to work to hide their passes until they reach a Secret Service entry point and to hide them as they leave, according to an email which was viewed by CNN,” the report noted.
Critics have quickly seized on Monday’s report that members of the press were ordered out of the White House. Within a little more than an hour, the political action committee MeidasTouch had already produced an ad calling out Trump for the episode.
BREAKING: Trump has reportedly kicked the media off of White House grounds. Protests have broken out in Lafayette Square. Trump can hide behind his fence for now, but he cannot hide from the people in November. This is #OurHouse. pic.twitter.com/c25XLHxv2f
— MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) June 23, 2020
The White House did not offer a public explanation about why reporters were ordered to leave the grounds.