Jun 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump briefly brought to White House bunker amid protests

President Trump on May 30.
President Trump on May 30. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump was briefly brought to the White House's underground bunker on Friday night as protests raged outside over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people, the New York Times first reported.

Why it matters: The protests stirred one of the highest alerts at the executive complex since 9/11, leading the president to spend nearly an hour in the bunker, which was designed for use in emergencies like terrorist attacks, according to the AP.

  • The next morning, Trump amped up his rhetoric on Twitter, saying that "the most vicious dogs, and the most ominous weapons" would have greeted protestors at the White House had they breached the area's fence.
  • He added that he "was inside, watched every move, and couldn’t have felt more safe."

The big picture: After days of nightly protests in cities around the country, there has been a vigorous debate in Trump’s inner circle about whether the president should do an Oval Office address to the nation, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.

  • Many of his inside and outside advisers have warned that continued violent rhetoric could stoke tensions and harm him politically.
  • The biggest source of internal concern was Trump's escalatory tweet last week — "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" — which used a violent phrase with a racist history rooting back to police brutality against African Americans in the 1960s.
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