President Donald Trump was abruptly led outside the press briefing room to the Oval Office on Monday by Secret Service agents who informed him there had been a shooting outside of the White House.
Trump was in the middle of a COVID-19 briefing, predicting the stock market would be “topping records, hopefully soon” when a Secret Service agent standing beside him told him, “We have shots fired outside.”
Trump and his aides, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell Vought, immediately calmly exited the room.
The Secret Service said in a statement late Monday evening that a 51-year-old man approached a Secret Service official stationed near the White House complex.
“The suspect approached the officer and told the officer he had a weapon. The suspect then turned around, ran aggressively toward the officer, and in a drawing motion, withdrew an object from his clothing.”
“He then crouched into a shooter’s stance as if about to fire a weapon. The Secret Service officer discharged his weapon striking the individual in the torso.”
The statement noted that following the shooting, first aid was administered to the suspect by the officers. Both the officer who fired the shot and the suspect were transported to hospital.
However, the statement added, “The White House complex was not breached during the incident and no Secret Service protectees were ever in danger.”
When Trump returned to the briefing room a few minutes later, he said that the suspect had been armed, adding that he didn’t know the suspect’s condition in the hospital.
The secret service did not confirm whether the suspect was armed
According to the statement, the Secret Service Office of Professional Responsibility will conduct an internal review of the officer’s actions.
Upon returning to the room from the Oval Office, Trump praised the Secret Service.
“I feel very safe with the Secret Service. They’re fantastic people. They’re the best of the best. They’re highly trained,” Trump told reporters.
“They just wanted me to step aside for a little while just to make sure that everything was clear outside.”
“Do I seem rattled?” he said when a reporter asked him the question.
“It’s unfortunate that this is the world, but the world has always been a dangerous place. It’s not something that’s unique.
“I didn’t even consider not coming back,” Trump went on to tell the press briefing after the shooting, indicating that he was fine.
Trump for Rushmore?
The news of the shooting near the White House comes after Trump denied reports by The New York Times on Monday stating the White House reached out to the South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem about adding Trump to famous US presidential monument Mount Rushmore.
Despite labeling the report as “fake news”, Trump went on to say that adding his face to Mount Rushmore sounded like “a good idea” to him “based on all of the many things accomplished during the first 3 1/2 years, perhaps more than any other presidency.”
Mount Rushmore National Memorial Chief for Interpretation and Education Maureen McGee-Ballinger said in June that Mount Rushmore is not suitable for carving a fifth President’s face, seemingly scotching any notion that Trump, or any other president, will ever see themselves immortalized there.
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