President Trump was only a few minutes into his coronavirus briefing Monday evening when it was abruptly halted due to a suspect being shot outside of the White House.
A Secret Service agent had a whispered conversation with the President and he left the podium. The President and other administration officials were quickly escorted from the room.
Trump abruptly leaves his White House press briefing at U.S. Secret Service order pic.twitter.com/4MA7GOCOHZ
— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) August 10, 2020
The reporters attending the press briefing were placed in lockdown in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, while Secret Service agents surrounded the West Wing.
The President was taken to a safe location within the White House and was in a room with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin near the Oval Office.
The incident reportedly occurred at the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, right outside the White House and near Lafayette Park.
Shortly after the incident, President Trump returned to finish the press briefing and shared about what happened just outside the big White House wall:
“It seems that the person was shot by the Secret Service so we’ll see what happens,” Trump said. He referred to the incident as “unfortunate.”
Trump continued, “It was outside of the White House. It seems that the shooting was done by law enforcement at the suspect, it was the suspect who was shot.”
President Trump seemed unphased by the dramatic episode and said that he didn’t fear for his safety.
“It was pretty unusual but they do a fantastic job, as you know. They just wanted me to step aside for a little while just to make sure that everything was clear outside,” he added.
Before the president resumed his briefing, he apologized to the reporters. “I’m sorry for the disturbance before.”
He took questions and talked about decreasing US fatalities from the virus and market numbers.
“I didn’t even think about not coming back,” the president said and called the world a “dangerous place.”
A senior administration official did confirm to CNN that an active shooter had been taken into custody. The identity of the shooter and their motivation remains unknown.