As protests continued, Trump was briefly taken to underground bunker
As hundreds of people gathered outside White House on Friday night, to raise their voice against the brutal killing of a black man by a police officer in broad daylight, United States President Donald Trump was briefly taken to an underground bunker, reports said on Monday. He reappeared upstairs after less than an hour, a White House official and law enforcement agent told CNN.
The US is brimming with tensions after Minnesota-resident George Floyd breathed his last under the knee of a white cop, Derek Chauvin. He pinned Floyd on the ground for several minutes on May 25. Neither the "I can't breathe" plea of Floyd, nor onlookers' request to let him go had any effect on Chauvin. Floyd was declared dead on arrival by a local hospital.
Pain and anger over Floyd's death spilled from Minnesota to other major cities like New York, Atlanta, and capital Washington. Protesters torched police vehicles, threw bottles, vandalized property, and cursed Trump for fanning racial tensions. Chauvin and his colleagues Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J Alexander Kueng were fired. The main accused was arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
First Lady Melania, and the couple's son, Barron, were also shifted to the bunker, which is usually pressed to service during terrorist attacks. The last time security officials moved a president was on September 11, 2001, when the twin towers were attacked. Not confirming the reports, White House spokesman Judd Deere said, "The White House does not comment on security protocols and decisions."
Apparently, the size of the crowd and violent protests had jolted Trump. On Saturday, he flew to Florida to witness NASA's historic #LaunchAmericaMission. He returned to the White House yesterday under a virtual siege and remained out of sight the entire day, even as some of his advisers pressed him for a televised address. Meanwhile, the White House donned a deserted and emptied look.
Lights that usually illuminate exterior of the WH have been turned off. pic.twitter.com/mHfUEhT4Xd— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) June 1, 2020
In Florida, Trump lambasted protesters and expressed solidarity towards "the majority of police officers". "I stand before you as a friend and ally to every American seeking justice and peace. And I stand before you in firm opposition to anyone exploiting this tragedy to loot, rob, attack, and menace. Healing, not hatred, justice, not chaos, are the mission at hand," he said.
"We must defend the rights of every citizen to live without violence, prejudice, or fear. No one is more upset than fellow law enforcement officers by the small handful who failed to abide by their oath to serve and protect," he added.
The violence near White House continued unabated on Sunday night, prompting officials to fire tear gas. The crowd ascended shortly after a citywide curfew was announced in Washington by Mayor Muriel Bowser from 11 pm on Sunday to 6 am on Monday (local time). Cops also used flash-bang devices to control the demonstrators who lit fires, chanted Floyd's name, and held protest signs.