Trump took shelter in White House bunker as protests raged

America Protests Washington

AP - Secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump to a White House bunker on Friday night as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the executive mansion, some of them throwing rocks and tugging at police barricades.

Trump spent nearly an hour in the bunker, which was designed for use in emergencies like terrorist attacks, according to a Republican close to the White House who was not authorised to publicly discuss private matters and spoke on condition of anonymity. The account was confirmed by an administration official who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

The abrupt decision by the agents underscored the rattled mood inside the White House, where the chants from protesters in Lafayette Park could be heard all weekend and Secret Service agents and law enforcement officers struggled to contain the crowds.

Friday's protests were triggered by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after he was pinned at the neck by a white Minneapolis police officer. The demonstrations in Washington turned violent and appeared to catch officers by surprise. They sparked one of the highest alerts on the White House complex since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 .

"The White House does not comment on security protocols and decisions," said White House spokesman Judd Deere. The Secret Service said it does not discuss the means and methods of its protective operations. The president's move to the bunker was first reported by The New York Times.

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Protests outside the White House
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Protests outside the White House
Demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Demonstrators pprotest the death of George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Demonstrators start a fire as they protest the death of George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Law enforcement officers from Calvert County Maryland Sheriff's Office standing on the Ellipse, area just south of the White House in Washington, as they watch demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Police form a line on H Street as demonstrators gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
WASHINGTON, DC- MAY 31: A large group of protestors lingered late at the perimeter (the square itself was closed off) of Lafayette Square to protest racism and President Trump in Washington, D.C. in the early morning hours of May 31, 2020. One protestor went to retrieve a flare that had been tossed at police and was immediately doused with tear gas.They were confronted by police officers who at various times fired tear gas, pepper spay pellets and used concussion grenades to control them. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Smoke rises around a protester holding up their hands in front of a row of police during a demonstration against the death of George Floyd at a park near the White House on May 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. - Thousands of National Guard troops patrolled major US cities after five consecutive nights of protests over racism and police brutality that boiled over into arson and looting, sending shock waves through the country. The death Monday of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of police in Minneapolis ignited this latest wave of outrage in the US over law enforcement's repeated use of lethal force against African Americans -- this one like others before captured on cellphone video. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)
Protesters kneel in front of police behind a barricade during a protest against the death of George Floyd near the White House on May 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. - Thousands of National Guard troops patrolled major US cities after five consecutive nights of protests over racism and police brutality that boiled over into arson and looting, sending shock waves through the country. The death Monday of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of police in Minneapolis ignited this latest wave of outrage in the US over law enforcement's repeated use of lethal force against African Americans -- this one like others before captured on cellphone video. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 31: Police officers hold a perimeter during a protest near the White House in response to the killing of George Floyd May 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was fired then arrested for Floyd's death and is accused of killing Floyd by kneeling on his neck. Chauvin and three other officers, Tou Thao, J Alexander Kueng and Thomas K. Lane, were involved in Floyd's arrest on an accusation of "forgery-in-progress". (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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The president and his family have been shaken by the size and venom of the crowds, according to the Republican. It was not immediately clear if first lady Melania Trump and the couple's 14-year-old son, Barron, joined the president in the bunker. Secret Service protocol would have called for all those under the agency's protection to be in the underground shelter.

Trump has told advisers he worries about his safety, while both privately and publicly praising the work of the Secret Service.

Trump traveled to Florida on Saturday to view the first manned space launch from the U.S. in nearly a decade. He returned to a White House under virtual siege, with protesters — some violent — gathered just a few hundred yards away through much of the night.

Demonstrators returned Sunday afternoon, facing off against police at Lafayette Park into the evening.

Trump continued his effort to project strength, using a series of inflammatory tweets and delivering partisan attacks during a time of national crisis.

As cities burned night after night and images of violence dominated television coverage, Trump's advisers discussed the prospect of an Oval Office address in an attempt to ease tensions. The notion was quickly scrapped for lack of policy proposals and the president's own seeming disinterest in delivering a message of unity.

Trump did not appear in public on Sunday. Instead, a White House official who was not authorised to discuss the plans ahead of time said Trump was expected in the coming days to draw distinctions between the legitimate anger of peaceful protesters and the unacceptable actions of violent agitators.

70 PHOTOS
Anti-racism protests across the U.S.
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Anti-racism protests across the U.S.
Protesters take a knee on Flatbush Avenue in front of New York City police officers during a solidarity rally for George Floyd, Thursday, June 4, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard, center, joins other demonstrators in Portland, Ore., during a protest against police brutality and racism, sparked by the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after being restrained by police in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
Protesters break curfew and march, Thursday, June 4, 2020, in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Demonstrators gather near the Austin Police Department in Austin, Texas, Thursday, June 4, 2020, to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day.(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Houston police chief Art Acevedo talks with members of the community gathered to mourn the death of George Floyd during a march across downtown Houston, Texas on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. - Anti-racism protests have put several US cities under curfew to suppress rioting, following the death of George Floyd while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Felix / AFP) (Photo by MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - JUNE 2: Security forces block the road as protesters gather near Lafayette Park ahead of President Trump's trip to St. John's Church in Washington, United States on June 2, 2020. Protests and riots continue in cities across US following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after being pinned down by a white police officer. (Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - JUNE 2: Security forces block the road as protesters gather near Lafayette Park ahead of President Trump's trip to St. John's Church in Washington, United States on June 2, 2020. Protests and riots continue in cities across US following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after being pinned down by a white police officer. (Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - JUNE 01: Protestors are putting their hand up while approaching police officers during a protest demanding justice for George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after being pinned down by a white police officer in Minneapolis, in Manhattan, New York City, United States on June 01, 2020. (Photo by Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - JUNE 2: Security forces block the road as protesters gather near Lafayette Park ahead of President Trump's trip to St. John's Church in Washington, United States on June 2, 2020. Protests and riots continue in cities across US following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after being pinned down by a white police officer. (Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - JUNE 01: Hundreds of protestors march during a protest over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after being pinned down by a white police officer in Minneapolis, New York City, United States on June 01, 2020. (Photo by Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - JUNE 01: Police officers arrest protestors right after the curfew time during a protest demanding justice for George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after being pinned down by a white police officer in Minneapolis, in Manhattan, New York City, United States on June 01, 2020. (Photo by Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A protester confronts police during a rally in downtown Lexington, Ky., against the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor on Sunday, May 31, 2020. (Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP)
Demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Demonstrators start a fire as they protest the death of George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A young boy holds a "Justice" sign as he peers outside the window of a car passing protesters marching through downtown for a third night of unrest Sunday May 31, 2020, in Richmond, Va. Gov. Ralph Northam issued a curfew for this evening. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
People kneel in front of the Hall of Justice in San Francisco, Sunday, May 31, 2020, at protests over the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. Floyd was a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Demonstrators pray during a march, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Atlanta. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)
A protest leader chants with demonstrators Sunday, May 31, 2020, after curfew in Minneapolis. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Demonstrators march, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Atlanta. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
A protester tries to talk the police back amid tear gas in downtown Atlanta, Sunday, May 31, 2020. Protests continue across the country over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Law enforcement officers from Calvert County Maryland Sheriff's Office standing on the Ellipse, area just south of the White House in Washington, as they watch demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A woman is arrested after being pulled out of a passenger seat for reckless driving as protesters take to the streets in SoHo on Sunday, May 31, 2020, in New York. Protests were held throughout the city over the death of George Floyd, a black man in police custody in Minneapolis who died after being restrained by police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Protestors confront a police officer in his car in Memphis, Tennessee during a protest over the death of George Floyd May 31, 2020. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian via AP)
Protestors throw smoke bombs back at the Shelby County Sheriff's deputies Sunday, May 31, 2020, during a protest over the death of George Floyd on May 25. (Jim Weber/Daily Memphian via AP)
People break into a smoke shop on Monday, June 1, 2020, in New York. Protests were held throughout the city over the death of George Floyd, a black man in police custody in Minneapolis who died after being restrained by police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Police arrest a man in SoHo on Monday, June 1, 2020, in New York. Protests were held throughout the city over the death of George Floyd, a black man in police custody in Minneapolis who died after being restrained by police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
A white man and a black man clasp hands as police in the background guard the old state capitol in Raleigh, N.C., on Monday, June 1, 2020. It was the second day of protests in the North Carolina capital following the death of Minnesotan George Floyd while in police custody. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
Protestors celebrate after eluding authorities and stopping traffic along Interstate 55 in Memphis, Tennessee, Sunday, May 31, 2020, during a protest over the death of George Floyd on May 25. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian via AP)
A protester holds a tattered American flag as police stand guard over the old state capitol in in Raleigh, N.C., on Sunday, May 31, 2020. It was the second day of protests in the North Carolina capital following the death of Minnesotan George Floyd while in police custody. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
A protester takes a knee as he tries to talk with police guarding the old state capitol in Raleigh, N.C., on Sunday, May 31, 2020. It was the second day of protests in the North Carolina capital following the death of Minnesotan George Floyd while in police custody. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
Police in riot gear protect the old state capitol building in Raleigh, N.C., on Sunday, May 31, 2020. It was the second day of protests in the North Carolina capital following the death of Minnesotan George Floyd while in police custody. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
A protester hugs a police officer who kneeled after protesters attending a rally against the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor chanted "Kneel with us! Kneel with us!" in Lexington, Ky., on Sunday, May 31, 2020. (Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP)
A protester holds a police officer's hand while praying together during a rally to protest the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in Lexington, Ky., on Sunday, May 31, 2020. (Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP)
A protester confronts police during a rally in downtown Lexington, Ky., against the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor on Sunday, May 31, 2020. (Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP)
Police officers tackle a suspect trying to escape in New York, Monday, June 1, 2020. A fourth day of protests against police brutality kept New York City on edge Sunday, as thousands of people marched and many protesters and officers tried to keep the peace after days of unrest that left police cars burned and hundreds of people under arrest. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
People run as police arrive to the scene of a broken into smoke shop in New York, Monday, June 1, 2020. A fourth day of protests against police brutality kept New York City on edge Sunday, as thousands of people marched and many protesters and officers tried to keep the peace after days of unrest that left police cars burned and hundreds of people under arrest. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A protester runs after placing a construction barrel on top of a gas grenade in downtown Fredericksburg, Va. on Sunday, May 31, 2020. (Mike Morones/The Free Lance-Star via AP)
Motorists are ordered to the ground from their vehicle by police during a protest on South Washington Street, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Minneapolis. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Motorists are ordered to the ground from their vehicle by police during a protest on South Washington Street, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Minneapolis. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Arrested protesters are loaded onto a transport bus by police on South Washington Street, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Minneapolis. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mounted Midland County sheriff's deputies head through a crowd outside the Midland Park Mall while trying to disperse protesters during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Midland, Texas, on Sunday, May 31, 2020, following the May 25 death of George Floyd, who was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer. (Eli Hartman/Odessa American via AP)
A demonstrator holds up a drawing depicting George Floyd in Albuquerque, N.M., Sunday, May 31, 2020. Protests were held in U.S. cities over the death of Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd in downtown Albuquerque, N.M., Sunday, May 31, 2020. Floyd was a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd in downtown Albuquerque, N.M., Sunday, May 31, 2020. Floyd was a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
A demonstrator holds a drawing depicting George Floyd in Albuquerque, N.M., Sunday, May 31, 2020. Floyd was a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd in downtown Albuquerque, N.M., Sunday, May 31, 2020. Floyd was a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Police stop a driver in the SoHo shopping district Sunday, May 31, 2020, in New York. Protests were held throughout the city over the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after he was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Las Vegas police disperse protesters with gas on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Las Vegas, during demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after he was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)
Las Vegas Police disperse protesters with gas on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Las Vegas, during demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after he was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)
Police officers arrest a protester Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Los Angeles, during a protest over the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after he was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Nikayla Williams rallies on the Las Vegas Strip Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Las Vegas, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)
Protesters rally on the Las Vegas Strip Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Las Vegas, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)
Police officers arrest a protester Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Los Angeles, during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after he was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Activists march to the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday, May 31, 2020, in New York. Demonstrators took to the streets of New York City to protest the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after he was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen).
A young man throws a trash can through the window of an AT&T store Sunday, May 31, 2020, in New York. Demonstrators took to the streets of New York to protest the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after he was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer. 5. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen).
Activists march to the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday, May 31, 2020, in New York. Demonstrators took to the streets of New York to protest the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after he was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen).
Protesters head away from police in Santa Monica, Calif., Sunday, May 31, 2020, during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after he was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/ Christian Monterrosa)
Protesters speak to Virginia Commonwealth University police who expressed solidarity with the marchers during a third night of unrest Sunday May 31, 2020, in Richmond, Va. Gov. Ralph Northam issued a curfew for this evening. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Protesters hold hands up and chant "don't shoot" during a standoff with Savannah police after a peaceful rally, Sunday, May 31, 2020, over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. (Stephen B. Morton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
A man with a face covering walks past a mural depicting George Floyd during a protest over the death of Floyd Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Los Angeles. Floyd died in Minneapolis on May 25 after he was pinned at the neck by a police officer. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Members of California National Guard stand guard in Pershing Square, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Los Angeles. The National Guard is patrolling Los Angeles as the city begins cleaning up after a night of violence by demonstrators that saw clash with officers and torch police vehicles and pillage stores. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Demonstrators march in San Francisco on Sunday, May 31, 2020, protesting the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Demonstrators rally in San Francisco on Sunday, May 31, 2020, protesting the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
A Lawrence police officer hands water to protesters in Lawrence, Kan., Sunday, May 31, 2020, during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
A woman is helped after being hit with pepper spray after curfew on Sunday, May 31, 2020 in Minneapolis. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
An officer points pepper spray towards people after curfew on Sunday, May 31, 2020 in Minneapolis. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A demonstrator makes a heart sign while protesting after curfew Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Minneapolis.Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
A protest leader chants with demonstrators Sunday, May 31, 2020, after curfew in Minneapolis. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Authorities move through gas and detain a protester as demonstrators march, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Atlanta. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Demonstrators march, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Atlanta. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)
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On Sunday, Trump retweeted a message from a conservative commentator encouraging authorities to respond with greater force.

"This isn't going to stop until the good guys are willing to use overwhelming force against the bad guys," Buck Sexton wrote in a message amplified by the president.

In recent days security at the White House has been reinforced by the National Guard and additional personnel from the Secret Service and the U.S. Park Police.

On Sunday, the Justice Department deployed members of the U.S. Marshals Service and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration to supplement National Guard troops outside the White House, according to a senior Justice Department official. The official could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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