The decision came during a demonstration in Lafayette Square, across from the White House, where protesters tried to tear down a statue of former President Andrew Jackson standing in the middle of a park. Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck.
The U.S. Secret Service issued a statement early Tuesday stating that “four members of the media were misdirected” to leave the White House.
Journalists, including two CNN employees, were told they had to leave the White House grounds immediately across the south side of the complex, which is not the usual press entry / exit. The move to coerce media members based on the White House is very unusual. Typically in White House security situations, the press hull is locked in the complex.
A secret service spokesman told CNN: “On Monday night, in response to increasingly violent demonstrations in Lafayette Park, the secret service misdirected four media members to leave the White House grounds. Press members were diverted to exits on the south side of the complex. for your own safety “.
Protesters spray-painted “BHAZ” on the pillars of St. John’s Episcopal Church sitting across from Lafayette Square. The acronym stands for “Black House Autonomous Zone,” an apparent reference to the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) in Seattle, where protesters occupied a six-square-foot city area and kept police to set up their own area of self-government.
“Law and order will prevail,” he said, “and justice will be served.”
In the state capital, tensions between protest groups and law enforcement outside the White House have been central to the nation in recent weeks, while protests continue over the murder of George Floyd, a black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis last month.
Last month, Trump was briefly taken to an underground bunker, at a time when protesters were gathering in front of the White House, a White House official and law enforcement source said. The president was there a little less than an hour before he was taken upstairs.
A law enforcement source and another source familiar with the matter told CNN that First Lady Melania Trump and their son Barron were also taken to the bunker.
Following that episode, the White House warned employees who must go to work to hide their passes until they reach the point of entry into the secret services and to hide them as they leave, according to an email reviewed by CNN.
A few days later, Trump declared himself “your president of law and order” as peaceful protesters right outside the White House door scattered with gas, flashlights and rubber bullets, after which he went to a nearby church to photograph the opportunity.
He remained in the crowded building, producing a Bible for the cameras, just minutes before returning to the White House.
This story was updated with additional developments on Monday.
CNN’s Allie Malloy contributed to this report.