How serious are the riots getting in Washington, DC? Serious enough that the Secret Service hustled the President down to the bunker for an hour last night. Keep in mind that the area inside the fence surrounding the White House, as well as the airspace above it, is one of the most heavily protected places on the planet outside of Fort Knox and some of our nuclear installations. And yet the rioters, looters and vandals managed to get close enough that precautionary measures were deemed necessary on Sunday night. It’s not hard to imagine Trump becoming increasingly frustrated at the inability of governments around the country to bring this mayhem under control, undermining his image of keeping a firm hand on the tiller and managing events in the public square. (Associated Press)
Secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump to a White House bunker on Friday night as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the executive mansion, some of them throwing rocks and tugging at police barricades.
Trump spent nearly an hour in the bunker, which was designed for use in emergencies like terrorist attacks, according to a Republican close to the White House who was not authorized to publicly discuss private matters and spoke on condition of anonymity. The account was confirmed by an administration official who also spoke on condition of anonymity.
The abrupt decision by the agents underscored the rattled mood inside the White House, where the chants from protesters in Lafayette Park could be heard all weekend and Secret Service agents and law enforcement officers struggled to contain the crowds.
It’s unclear how much support the White House can expect from the DC government. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a curfew last night from 11 pm to six o’clock this morning, but the rioters clearly ignored those orders. The District police were out in force once again, but they mostly held their lines and observed as the destruction continued. (There were 18 arrests reported, as compared to countless acts of violence and mayhem.)
For her part, Bowser is continuing to claim that she will ensure the safety of everyone in the District, though she had previously gotten in a shot at the President.
My police department will always protect DC and all who are in it whether I agree with them (such as those exercising their First Amendment Right) or those I don’t (namely, @realdonaldtrump)…
— Muriel Bowser #StayHomeDC Lite (@MurielBowser) May 30, 2020
While the riots in most of the cities across the country are obviously disturbing in the extreme, the situation in Washington, DC is one to keep an eye on. If we’re reaching the point where we can’t even keep the streets surrounding the White House secure, the republic is in serious danger. Washington is the scene of regular protests, frequently drawing people in the tens or even hundreds of thousands. It’s practically a daily event and local law enforcement is used to it. But these are not protests. These are riots, featuring thousands of people who are looking to institute mob rule.
Just the other day we saw reports indicating that more than sixty members of the Secret Service were injured during standoffs with the mob. The training and equipment available to the Secret Service are significantly more advanced than what you see with the average cops on the beat. If they can’t hold back this tide of violence, then we’re in serious trouble.
So who is supposed to address this situation and wind it back down? Mayors across the country have been out there issuing nearly identical messages of solidarity with those exercising their freedom of speech to protest the death of George Floyd while demanding that the destructive rioters disperse. They’re not listening. They’re not complying. They are flagrantly breaking pretty much every law in the book with the confidence of criminals who believe they can’t be detained or held accountable. We’re quickly reaching the point where our elected leaders are going to have to decide whether they are willing to surrender the streets to domestic terrorists or do something to restore order. And a “calming conversation” obviously isn’t going to get the job done.