Former US President Donald Trump appeared to lash out after he learned that someone had leaked the story of him and the members of his family being escorted to a security bunker at the time of the tense George Floyd protests in May 2020, WSJ reporter Michael Bender claimed in his new book "Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost".
According to the book, in the days after his time in the White House presidential security bunker, Trump had an angry meeting with some top West Wing advisors as well as military and law enforcement officials, in which he reacted emotionally to the fact that his visit to the bunker had been leaked to the media.
"Trump boiled over about the bunker story as soon as they arrived and shouted at them to smoke out whoever had leaked it. It was the most upset some aides had ever seen the president. [...] 'Whoever did that, they should be charged with treason!' Trump yelled. 'They should be executed!'", Bender wrote in the book, cited by CNN.
Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff at the time, was around to try and calm the then-commander-in-chief down "as startled aides avoided eye contact".
"I'm on it. We're going to find out who did it", Meadows was saying, according to the book.
Trump reportedly remained angry for several days, continually asking Meadows whether the leaker had been found, resulting in his top aide becoming "obsessed" with detecting the source of the leak.
"Those who said they'd heard the president issue that warning had interpreted the outburst as a sign of a president in panic", the book said.
Trump's chief spokeswoman, Liz Harrington, refuted the "execution" claims made in the book in a statement to CNN, stating that the former president "never said this or suggested it to anyone."
In late May, multiple reports emerged in the media noting that, as heated George Floyd protests escalated in the streets of Washington DC, along with many other US cities, the then-president and members of his family had been taken to the underground presidential security bunker in the White House by the security teams worried for their safety.
According to the reports, Trump, his wife Melania, and son Barron spent about an hour in the safety bunker. The former president later claimed that he went to the bunker only to "take a look" and it was "more for an inspection", as security officials told him that "maybe sometime you're going to need it". According to some June 2020 reports, he sought to prosecute those who reported on the bunker visit.
The protests against police racism and police brutality in the US erupted in the United States after the late May 2020 killing of a black man, George Floyd, by white police officers while in custody, swiftly engulfing the nation and occasionally evolving into violent riots. In the capital city of Washington DC, large groups of protesters gathered near the White House, shouting curses at Trump - something that, according to reports, prompted the Secret Service to raise concerns about the president's safety. In the end, however, it was said that Trump and his family were never in any real danger.