President Donald Trump claimed on Wednesday that reports he was taken down to the White House bunker as protests over George Floyd’s death flared up were “fake news” and that he only went down during the day in order to inspect the shelter.
Interviewing the president on his Fox News radio show, Brian Kilmeade brought up recent reports that the president was briefly taken down to an underground bunker, mistakenly claiming that the reports said this occurred Sunday night. (It was actually reported that Trump was ushered down on Friday night as protests first approached the White House.)
With Kilmeade and Trump both mentioning how Fox News anchor Leland Vittert was harassed by protesters during the Friday night demonstrations, the president immediately insisted that the reports were false and that he only went down during the day.
“They said it would be a good time to go down and take a look because maybe, sometimes you learn you need it,” Trump declared, adding that he’s been down to the bunker “two-and-a-half times.”
Claiming he was only down there a “very, very short period of time,” Trump asserted he was just doing it as an “inspection” to see if he would need to use it in the future. Furthermore, the president said that it didn’t occur while the nighttime protests were raging.
Per multiple reports, the president spent roughly an hour in the bunker—which is usually reserved for times of war and terrorist attacks—on Friday night. Officials have said the decision was made by the Secret Service as loud protests reached the White House barriers. Sources also said that the president’s family was there with him.
Trump and Kilmeade also discussed the outrage sparked by the president’s St. John’s Church photo-op, which was preceded by law enforcement violently clearing peaceful protesters from Lafayette Park to make way for the president’s foot trek from the White House.
Despite multiple reporters, clergy, and demonstrators saying they were hit with tear-gas and video showing police shooting such munitions into the gathering, the president repeatedly called it “fake news” while urging listeners to get the “real story” from far-right website The Federalist. He also waved off criticism he’s received from clergy over the political stunt, claiming most faith leaders “loved” it.