Trump abruptly pulled from briefing after shooting outside White House

President Trump on Monday was abruptly pulled from a press briefing after a shooting outside the White House. 

Trump departed after a Secret Service agent appeared to speak to him at the podium. Another agent outside the room locked the doors. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Russell Vought were also in attendance for the briefing and shuffled out behind Trump.

The president returned to the podium roughly 10 minutes later. He said there had been a shooting outside the White House involving law enforcement. The suspect was armed, Trump said, but he had few additional details.

“The Secret Service can confirm there has been an officer involved shooting at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Ave.,” the agency tweeted. “Law enforcement officials are on the scene. More information to follow.”

In a subsequent tweet, Secret Service said the suspect involved was a male and that an officer was also injured and taken to the hospital.

“At no time during this incident was the White House complex breached or were any protectees in danger,” the agency said.

“I do want to thank Secret Service,” Trump said later. “They are fantastic.”

Trump said he was not taken to the protective bunker for the incident.

“They just wanted me to step aside just to make sure everything was cleared outside,” he said.

A chaotic scene unfolded in the moments after Trump was pulled from the briefing. Armed Secret Service officers were seen stationed on the North Lawn of the White House as reporters inside the building scrambled to learn the cause of the lockdown.

The security incident seemed to hang over the rest of the briefing even as Trump attempted to get back on track with prepared remarks on the pandemic.

Before he could resume speaking, reporters peppered him with questions about what he knew and whether he felt at risk.

Photographers in the briefing room intermittently snapped photos of Secret Service agents moving around outside, prompting reporters to crane their necks for a better view.

The incident was not the first time agents felt Trump’s safety was threatened, but it was by far the most visible, as the briefing was being broadcast live on cable news networks. 

Trump was taken to the secure bunker in late May amid violent protests just outside the White House in response to the killing of George Floyd. Secret Service has previously apprehended trespassers who jumped the fence surrounding the White House.

Access to the White House complex has been more restricted amid the coronavirus pandemic and in the aftermath of the protests against racial injustice. Additional fencing has been in place near the White House and nearby Lafayette Square dating back to early June.

After fielding several questions about the incident outside the White House, Trump returned to his scripted remarks on the nation’s economic response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“As I was telling you,” Trump said, launching into positive figures about the Dow Jones.

Updated at 8:53 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump press briefing Secret Service Steven Mnuchin White House

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