Reports now say US secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump to an underground bunker on Friday, as hundreds of angry protesters gathered outside the White House in Washington DC.
Some of the protesters, riled by the brutal killing of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in Minneapolis, had started throwing rocks and tugging at police barricades just outside the executive mansion.
The Associated Press (AP) quotes two senior Republicans close to the White House as painting a picture of utter confusion inside the mansion, where the chants from Lafayette Park could be heard all weekend.
As officers inside the building were working out how best to ensure the president’s safety, Secret Service personnel and law enforcement officers struggled to contain the restive crowds outside.
The Friday demonstrations arising from the death of George Floyd, forty-six, turned violent and appeared to catch officers by surprise. It triggered one of the highest alerts on the White House complex since the September 11 attacks in 2001.
In the days since, security at the White House has been reinforced by the National Guard and additional personnel from the Secret Service and the US Park Police.
On Sunday, the Justice Department also deployed members of the US Marshals Service and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration to supplement National Guard troops outside the White House, AP reported an unnamed senior Justice Department official as saying.