What Happened At The White House? A Man In A Car Was Detained
Because he's spending another weekend of his nascent presidency at what he's dubbed the "southern White House" at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, President Trump wasn't actually home to witness what happened at the White House Saturday. Namely, the Secret Service detained a man in a vehicle they deemed "suspicious" driving near the president's Washington, D.C. residence around 11 p.m., after another man managed to actually get over a bike rack barrier surrounding the White House fence earlier in the day. The Secret Service has not yet revealed exactly why they determined that the man or his vehicle to be suspicious, but they're clearly taking no chances after the first incident.
In a statement, the Secret Service said that the as-yet unidentified man "drove a vehicle up to a Secret Service checkpoint located at 15th Street and E Street NW" and was soon detained, ABC News reported. But, despite the fact that Secret Service personnel "increased their posture of readiness" based on whatever they considered to be off or dangerous about the man, authorities announced Sunday morning that there did not turn out to be a bomb or other weapon or dangerous device on the man or in his vehicle.
Although the public does not yet have information about the possible motivations of the man in the vehicle — or whether he intended to try to access the White House at all — we do have a little more clarity about the incident that occurred there earlier in the day. Shortly before 1 p.m., a man jumped the bike rack barrier that surrounds the fence that encapsulates the White House lawn, CNN reported, and was arrested about two minutes later. Like the man in the "suspicious" vehicle, he did not have any weapons. Instead, he made his move bearing a document he apparently sought to deliver to the White House. He never made it over the fence.
But that relatively innocuous outcome wasn't the case in another breach of security that left Secret Service agents "extremely disappointed and angry" last week. Shortly after 11 p.m. March 10, a 26-year-old California man named Jonathan Tran made it over the White House fence and was on the grounds for 16 minutes before being apprehended. The Secret Service is still in the process of conducting a "comprehensive investigation" into the incident (which occurred when the president was in the building), it shared in a statement a week later.
But this was undoubtedly the most serious intruder situation of the Trump administration so far: House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz told CNN Sunday that Tran was able to rattle a door handle to the White House as a result of what he called a "complete and utter total failure."
When he returns from his weekend at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump will be reminded once again that the Secret Service has been working hard to keep his residence secure — and that that's a job that, clearly, requires constant vigilance.