Trump is escorted out of briefing room after Secret Service agent shot man, 51, outside White House

President Donald Trump was abruptly escorted from his press conference on Monday less than five minutes after it began after a Secret Service agent shot a 51-year-old man who ‘aggressively’ approached the officer and said he had a weapon outside the White House.  

In a update released Monday night, the Secret Service said the man approached an agent around 5.53pm at the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW near the White House complex. 

‘The suspect approached the officer and told the officer he had a weapon,’ the statement reads. ‘The suspect then turned around, ran aggressively to towards the officer, and in a drawing motion, withdrew an object from his clothing.’ 

The agency said the man then ‘crouched into a shooter’s stance as if about to fire a weapon’. 

‘The Secret Service officer discharged his weapon, striking the individual in the torso,’ the update reads.

Authorities did not release any other information about the man’s condition, only saying that both he and the agent were transported to local hospitals. 

‘The White House Complex was not breached during the incident and no Secret Service protectees were ever in danger,’ the agency added. 

President Donald Trump was abruptly escorted from his press conference on Monday less than five minutes after it began after a Secret Service agent shot a 51-year-old man who ‘aggressively’ approached the officer and said he had a weapon outside the White House 

The agent told the president there was a shooting outside the White House and led the president from the briefing room

The agent told the president there was a shooting outside the White House and led the president from the briefing room

President Trump followed the agent from the briefing room and was taken to wait in the Oval Office

President Trump followed the agent from the briefing room and was taken to wait in the Oval Office 

President Trump said he was escorted out because shots were fired by the White House

President Trump said he was escorted out because shots were fired by the White House

The area around the White House was blocked off after the shooting incident

The area around the White House was blocked off after the shooting incident

Police officers stand guard at the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, after a shooting incident outside the White House

Police officers stand guard at the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, after a shooting incident outside the White House

Police cars block the entrance to Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House shortly after the shooting incident

Police cars block the entrance to Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House shortly after the shooting incident

Law enforcement locked down the White House at the incident; a Secret Service agent stands outside the press briefing room

Law enforcement locked down the White House at the incident; a Secret Service agent stands outside the press briefing room

An investigation into the actions of the agent is underway, the agency confirmed. 

The situation made for a dramatic start to Trump’s Monday press briefing. Trump had barely begun his press briefing when a Secret Service agent stepped into the press briefing room and said ‘sir’.

‘Excuse me,’ Trump said, looking up from the text of his speech at the interruption.  

‘There’s been a shooting outside,’ the agent told him, whispering in his ear. ‘Sir you’re going to have to step out.’ His words were caught on the microphone at the podium.

‘Oh,’ Trump said and left the room with him. 

A lockdown for the White House was declared, which is standard procedure during a security breach. 

A few minutes after his exit, the president returned to the podium and said: ‘There was a shooting outside of the White House and it seems to be very well under control.’

He then proceeded to take questions from reporters on a variety of topics for nearly an hour and eventually said he was fine after being pulled from the room.

‘Do I seem rattled?,’ he asked at one point before thanking his security detail for their quick action. 

‘I’d like to thank the Secret Service for doing their always quick and very effective work,’ he noted.

The area where the shooting occurred is at the Eisenhower Executive Office building, which sits next door to the White House.  

Video on social media showed a person down at the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue

Video on social media showed a person down at the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue

Police officers stand guard at the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, near the White House

Police officers stand guard at the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, near the White House

A member of the Secret Service stands guard as President Donald Trump speaks at a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room

A member of the Secret Service stands guard as President Donald Trump speaks at a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room

Trump said it was his understanding the suspect was armed but didn’t think it was necessarily about him. 

‘It might not have had anything to do with me,’ he said. Trump said the agents took him to the Oval Office, which is just down the hall from the press briefing room.  

Video on social media showed an individual on the ground with law enforcement surrounding the person at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th Street. 

The president said he was surprised by what happened but was not concerned for his personal safety.

‘I was surprised,’ he said. ‘It’s pretty unusual but very, very professional people. They do a fantastic job, as you know.’

‘The world has been a dangerous place. Very dangerous place and it will continue, I guess, for a period of time. I feel very safe with Secret Service, they are fantastic people. They are the best of the best and they are highly trained,’ he added.

Secret Service agents screen all reporters and visitors before they enter the White House complex.

Additionally, agents lock down the briefing room before the president enters with agents standing at all its entry points.  

Secret Service agents stand guard outside the press briefing room door

Secret Service agents stand guard outside the press briefing room door

A Secret Service uniform officer's bike is seen laying on the sidewalk on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House

A Secret Service uniform officer’s bike is seen laying on the sidewalk on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House

Law enforcement officials gather following a shooting at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House

Law enforcement officials gather following a shooting at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House

Members of the US Secret Service take up position outside the Brady Briefing Room as the White House is locked down

Members of the US Secret Service take up position outside the Brady Briefing Room as the White House is locked down

He said he never considered canceling his press briefing.

‘I didn’t even consider not coming back,’ Trump said. ‘I asked if I was able to come back, they said to wait a little while.’

And, with that, he somewhat impatiently returned to what he was saying before he was pulled from the room, talking about the rise in the stock market. 

Then, in a freewheeling exchange with White House reporters, he spent nearly an hour discussing the coronavirus, negotiations with Democrats on a relief package, and his Democratic rival Joe Biden.

He also brought up one of his favorite topics, his accusation that former President Barack Obama spied on his campaign. During the 2016 presidential campaign, when Obama was president, the FBI opened a counter-intelligence investigation into the Trump campaign to see if Russian agents were trying to influence the election.

Trump turned that into a deep state conspiracy working against him. 

‘Look, the Obama campaign spied on our campaign and they’ve been caught, all right? Now let’s see what happens to them. But they have been caught, they’ve been caught red-handed. It’s probably treason. It’s a horrible thing they did and it probably never happened before, at least nobody got caught doing it. But they use to the intelligence agencies of our country to spy on my campaign and they have been caught. There are a lot of people involved,’ he said.

As he took questions, President Trump saw John Roberts of Fox News standing at the back of the room. He noted Roberts was outside when the incident occurred. Roberts was doing a live shot from the North Lawn of the White House at the time.

‘I heard two shots in rapid succession just after you took the podium,’ Roberts told him. 

‘I saw your report inside when I went inside. It was a good report, thank you very much, appreciate it,’ Trump told him.  

President Donald Trump arrives back in the briefing room after being abruptly pulled from it

President Donald Trump arrives back in the briefing room after being abruptly pulled from it

During the briefing, President Trump saw John Roberts of Fox News standing at the back of the room and asked him to talk about the shots he heard fired

During the briefing, President Trump saw John Roberts of Fox News standing at the back of the room and asked him to talk about the shots he heard fired

An area at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue is roped off with police tape

An area at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue is roped off with police tape

A Secret Service agent stands guard at the briefing room door after President Trump resumes his press conference

A Secret Service agent stands guard at the briefing room door after President Trump resumes his press conference

Upon his return after an agent escorted him out, President Trump said he never considered not returning to finish his press briefing

Upon his return after an agent escorted him out, President Trump said he never considered not returning to finish his press briefing

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was attending the press conference and followed the president out

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was attending the press conference and followed the president out

President Trump and his aides being led from the James Brady Briefing Room in the White House

President Trump and his aides being led from the James Brady Briefing Room in the White House

A U.S. Secret Service police officer stands on the roof of the the White House

A U.S. Secret Service police officer stands on the roof of the the White House

A United States Secret Service officer stands outside the White House Briefing Room

A United States Secret Service officer stands outside the White House Briefing Room

President Trump picked up his briefing where he left off, talking about the stock market

President Trump picked up his briefing where he left off, talking about the stock market

 

A uniformed Secret Service agent outside the White House press briefing room

A uniformed Secret Service agent outside the White House press briefing room

Kathy Griffin tweets ‘it wasn’t me’ after shooting near White House during Trump press conference  

Kathy Griffin jokingly tweets ‘it wasn’t me’ after reported shooting near the White House during President Trump’s press conference

President Donald Trump was abruptly taken out of a press conference by security on Monday due to a reported shooting that took place near the White House. 

And Kathy Griffin, a notoriously outspoken critic of Trump, took to Twitter to jokingly assure her 2.1million followers that she had nothing to do with the incident.

‘It wasn’t me,’ tweeted the 59-year-old comedian, minutes after news of the shooting broke.

Wasn't me: Kathy Griffin, a notoriously outspoken critic of Trump, took to Twitter to jokingly assure her 2.1million followers that she had nothing to do with the incident; Kathy pictured in February

Wasn’t me: Kathy Griffin, a notoriously outspoken critic of Trump, took to Twitter to jokingly assure her 2.1million followers that she had nothing to do with the incident; Kathy pictured in February

Though she did not directly mention the incident or tag Trump in her tweet, Griffin’s following knew exactly what she was referring to. 

Minutes after his impromptu evacuation, President Trump, 74, returned to the White House briefing room and revealed the details of the shooting to the press, as reported by CNN.

‘There was a shooting outside of the White House and it seems to be very well under control. I’d like to thank the Secret Service for doing their always quick and very effective work,’ he began.

When asked if the White House had been breached in anyway, the 45th president of the United States replied: ‘I don’t think the person breached anything. I don’t believe anything was breached. I asked that question.’  

Close call: President Donald Trump was abruptly whisked out of a press conference by security on Monday due to a reported shooting that took place near the White House; Trump pictured on Monday

Close call: President Donald Trump was abruptly whisked out of a press conference by security on Monday due to a reported shooting that took place near the White House; Trump pictured on Monday

Trump said that he was ‘taken to the Oval Office’ after being evacuated and that the Secret Service made him ‘feel very safe.’ 

‘They just wanted me to step aside for a little while just to make sure that everything was clear outside,’ he told reporters.

Kathy Griffin has proven over the years that she is no fan of Donald Trump, whether it is clowning the former The Apprentice host on Twitter or posing with a severed  head made to look like him in 2017.

Details: Minutes after his impromptu evacuation, President Trump, 74, returned to the White House briefing room and revealed the details of the shooting to the press, as reported by CNN; the White House pictured on June 23

Details: Minutes after his impromptu evacuation, President Trump, 74, returned to the White House briefing room and revealed the details of the shooting to the press, as reported by CNN; the White House pictured on June 23

Not a fan: Kathy Griffin has proven over the years that she is no fan of Donald Trump, whether it is clowning the former The Apprentice host on Twitter or posing with his severed head in 2017

Not a fan: Kathy Griffin has proven over the years that she is no fan of Donald Trump, whether it is clowning the former The Apprentice host on Twitter or posing with his severed head in 2017

In a recent remote interview with Marco Eagle, the comedian admitted that her 2017 Trump severed head scandal marked the end of her ‘old life,’ in terms of ‘friends and work opportunities. 

But, despite her unrelenting criticism of Trump and other government officials, Kathy is not ‘anti-America.’

‘I love America. Let the newsmakers say [Trump’s] not qualified to have that job. But what I can say is that every time he walks out on camera, he honestly looks like he just left a spa. He looks like he gets five facials a day,’ she joked. 

Facial fanatic: 'I love America. Let the newsmakers say [Trump's] not qualified to have that job. But what I can say is that every time he walks out on camera, he honestly looks like he just left a spa. He looks like he gets five facials a day,'  joked Kathy in an interview with Marco Eagle in May; Trump pictured on Monday

Facial fanatic: ‘I love America. Let the newsmakers say [Trump’s] not qualified to have that job. But what I can say is that every time he walks out on camera, he honestly looks like he just left a spa. He looks like he gets five facials a day,’  joked Kathy in an interview with Marco Eagle in May; Trump pictured on Monday

Donald Trump unveils new medical adviser who wants schools opened

President Donald Trump signaled a new shift in his public health posture to the coronavirus pandemic Monday at the White House when he announced the presence of Dr. Scott Atlas – who has warned of the costs of school closings. 

It was just one of multiple areas where Trump made news or veered into murky statements at a White House press briefing that was briefly interrupted after a Secret Service agent told Trump he needed to stop the briefing following what the president later said was a shooting outside the White House. 

After Trump declared himself not rattled by the sudden interruption, he briefly pointed to Atlas, a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and mentioned him to the press.  He said Atlas, who has appeared on Fox News, ‘will be working with us on the coronavirus’ and ‘he has many great ideas.’

President Trump said the ‘great pandemic’ of 1917 ‘probably ended the second World War, all the soldiers were sick’

The shout-out came after Trump has spent weeks occasionally clashing with national health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci on lockdowns and school closings.

Conservative commentator hailed the appointment on his website, writing about ‘good news’ that he was added to the vice president’s coronavirus task force.

‘Scott Atlas is a brilliant guy and he thinks by early October that we could well be burned out of COVID. In his opinion, we could see it turn inert,’ according to the story on Limbaugh’s site. 

The news comes after Trump also tweeted about coronavirus task force expert Dr. Deborah Birx, calling it ‘pathetic’ after she warned about lockdowns following criticism from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Atlas in his speakers’ bureau bio says he has advised presidential candidates, and has been identified as an advisor to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 campaign. 

Stanford University Professor Scott Atlas listens as United States President Donald J. Trump speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 10 August 2020. Atlas has questioned 'hysteria' over school closings

Stanford University Professor Scott Atlas listens as United States President Donald J. Trump speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 10 August 2020. Atlas has questioned ‘hysteria’ over school closings

United States Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin (L), Director for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Russell Vought (C) and Stanford University Professor Scott Atlas (R) listen as United States President Donald J. Trump speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room Monday

United States Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin (L), Director for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Russell Vought (C) and Stanford University Professor Scott Atlas (R) listen as United States President Donald J. Trump speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room Monday

Atlas spoke to Fox News in a mid-July appearance amid national debate over keeping schools closed. 

‘We are the only country in the world, this is a level of hysteria like this is something I feel like I’m living in a Kafka novel here. I mean, I get thousands of e-mails a week from all over the world, from professors, teachers, mothers in the United States and elsewhere, they are stunned that we are willing to just simply destroy our children out of some bizarre notion that is completely contrary to the science,’ he said.

In May, Atlas disagreed with a model projecting 134,000 deaths by August 4, based on his reading of the fatality rate.

The U.S. exceeded that total, and as of August 10 was over 160,000. 

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has frequently quoted Atlas, as she did in July from the White House podium when she said: ‘Children under 18 have virtually zero risk of death from COVID, virtually zero risk of serious illness.’

Trump himself took heat when he said children are ‘almost immune’ from the virus, even though that is not the case.  

Trump on Monday voiced support for Atlas’ views. ‘I think schools have to open,’ the president said. ‘I think it’s a very important thing for the economy to get the schools going.’

Atlas offered up-beat information in a July interview even as cases rose.

‘If cases go up, that’s okay, the key thing is to prevent a big outbreak of deaths and serious complications and the way we do that is by protecting the high risk group,” Atlas said. “Actually, we have been protecting the high risk group much better now, because we see that there’s a huge increase in cases but there’s actually a decrease in the rate of hospitalizations and a continuing decrease in the rate of deaths 

Following Trump’s statement, he covered the waterfront in a press conference where he once again referenced the 1918 flu pandemic in comparison to the coronavirus crisis. He accidentally connected it to World War II, (1939-1945). 

‘The closest thing is in 1917 they say, right? The great pandemic, certainly as a terrible thing,’ Trump said. 

Then he said it ‘probably ended the second World War, all the soldiers were sick.’ 

Trump also defended an executive order he referenced over the weekend that would provide healthcare protections for Americans with preexisting medical conditions. He was asked an order was needed, when a ban on denial of preexisting conditions is one of the centerpieces of Obamacare.

Trump regularly rails against the law and helped take down its individual mandate, but those provisions remain in force.   

Trump said his order was ‘just a double safety net and just to let people know that the Republicans are already strongly in favor of’ protections for preexisting conditions.

‘It’s a signal to people. It’s a second platform,’ Trump said, acknowledging the move was symbolic.

Coronavirus Relief Bill: Donald Trump lashes out at Ben Sasse

Donald Trump bashed Ben Sasse on Monday as a ‘rogue’ Republican after the Nebraska senator called the president’s flurry of executive orders ‘unconstitutional slop.’

‘RINO Ben Sasse, who needed my support and endorsement in order to get the Republican nomination for Senate from the GREAT State of Nebraska, has, now that he’s got it (Thank you President T), gone rogue, again,’ Trump charged of Sasse in a tweet Monday morning.

‘This foolishness plays right into the hands of the Radical Left Dems!’ the president continued.

Sasse spoke out against the president signing four executive orders on Saturday to provide relief in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic after negotiations on Capitol Hill collapsed last week.

‘Then pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop,’ Republican Senator Sasse wrote in a statement Saturday.

‘President Trump does not have the power to unilaterally rewrite the payroll tax law,’ the Nebraska senator insisted . ‘Under the Constitution, that power belongs to the American people acting through their members of Congress.’

Sasse is a member of the Judiciary and Finance Committees.

Donald Trump lashed out against Republican Ben Sasse on Monday for ‘going rogue’ as he slammed him for being a ‘Republican In Name Only’

The tweet came after the Nebraska senator called on Saturday the president's four new executive orders 'unconstitutional slop.' Sasse is a member of the Judiciary and Finance committees

The tweet came after the Nebraska senator called on Saturday the president’s four new executive orders ‘unconstitutional slop.’ Sasse is a member of the Judiciary and Finance committees

He also tweeted Monday a thanks toward Republican Senator Bill Cassidy

He also tweeted Monday a thanks toward Republican Senator Bill Cassidy

The Louisiana Republican said in a statement Saturday that President Trump was able achieve what Democrats can't with executive orders in 'providing direct aid to Americans who need it' through the action

The Louisiana Republican said in a statement Saturday that President Trump was able achieve what Democrats can’t with executive orders in ‘providing direct aid to Americans who need it’ through the action

The president also thanked Republican Senator Bill Cassidy for his statement in support of the executive action.

‘Thank you to Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana for his very smart words on the just signed Executive Orders!’ Trump posted to Twitter Monday.

Cassidy wrote in a statement Saturday that the president is ‘doing what Nancy Pelosi won’t do: provide direct aid to Americans who need it.’

He claimed in his statement that Pelosi ‘refuses’ to compromised with Republicans.

Some of Trump’s other GOP allies issued much less harsh criticism of the president, claiming they would prefer that Congress be the entity to take action in providing a legislative compromise on economic stimulus and relief.

‘I appreciate the President taking this decisive action,’ South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted Saturday, adding, ‘but would much prefer a congressional agreement,’

‘I believe President Trump would prefer the same,’ the Senate Judiciary Chairman continued.

One of Trump’s biggest Capitol Hill allies and frequent golf buddy also wrote the executive orders were a good move from the president.

‘Great decision by President @realDonaldTrump to use executive orders to continue the federal unemployment supplement at the $400 level,’ Graham tweeted.

President Donald Trump took unilateral action Saturday to provide economic relief after Capitol Hill negotiations on another coronavirus stimulus package collapsed last week

President Donald Trump took unilateral action Saturday to provide economic relief after Capitol Hill negotiations on another coronavirus stimulus package collapsed last week 

'President Trump does not have the power to unilaterally rewrite the payroll tax law,' Sasse wrote in a statement Saturday. 'Under the Constitution, that power belongs to the American people acting through their members of Congress'

‘President Trump does not have the power to unilaterally rewrite the payroll tax law,’ Sasse wrote in a statement Saturday. ‘Under the Constitution, that power belongs to the American people acting through their members of Congress’

Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Trump's biggest Capitol Hill allies, also said he would 'much prefer a congressional agreement' over presidential orders, but praised the president for his 'decisive action'

Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s biggest Capitol Hill allies, also said he would ‘much prefer a congressional agreement’ over presidential orders, but praised the president for his ‘decisive action’

The four executive orders include: 

  • A payroll tax holiday from September 1 to December 31, for employees making less than $96,000 a year
  • Federal unemployment benefits of $400 per week retroactive to the week of August 1
  • A deferral of student loan payments and waiving of interest for federally held loans through December 31 
  • A moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, likely only applicable in homes with federally backed mortgages 

Republican Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander shared the same sentiment.

‘Pres. @realDonaldTrump is doing all he can to help workers, students & renters, but Congress is the one who should be acting,’ Alexander tweeted Saturday.

‘Democrats should stop blocking common sense proposals to help students going back to school & college & parents going back to work who need child care,’ he said.

Trump signed four executive orders Saturday afternoon while at his Bedminster golf club, which he said during a press conference there are related to ‘China virus relief.’

The actions include suspending payroll taxes for those making less than $96,000, extending expired unemployment benefits to a $400-per-week boost, putting a memorandum on evictions and deferring student loan payments.

Lawmakers were trying to achieve some of these same actions in another sweeping coronavirus relief package, but negotiations collapsed last week.

The signage came hours after the White House signaled Washington’s gridlock had compelled the president to act as the pandemic continues to ravage the country’s economy just months before the November election.

Independent Representative Justin Amash said Saturday that Trump is acting against the Constitution by taking unilateral action.

‘Our Constitution doesn’t authorize the president to act as king whenever Congress doesn’t legislate,’ the Republican-turned-Libertarian Michigan congressman tweeted.

Trump's top economic adviser Larry Kudlow (pictured right) defended the move against Democratic criticism on ANC's This Week Sunday morning, claiming it 'provides significant economic assistance' to Americans still facing hardships in the midst of the pandemic

Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow (pictured right) defended the move against Democratic criticism on ANC’s This Week Sunday morning, claiming it ‘provides significant economic assistance’ to Americans still facing hardships in the midst of the pandemic

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer bashed the executive orders as ‘weak and narrow’ in a Saturday statement, demanding that more still needs to be done.

‘The president’s meager, weak, and unconstitutional actions further demand that we have an agreement and any constitutional question issue is a separate issue,’ Pelosi reiterated during an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.

It is still unclear if the executive orders will take effect as Trump signaled during his press conference Saturday that he will likely face legal action over the measures. 

But Trump’s top economic adviser Peter Navarro said it isn’t productive for Pelosi to exit every negotiation and slam Republicans on television.

‘This should be easy. The question we’ve had watching this unfold, the question the president has is whether the Democrats really are sincere when they come to the table. And I’m not sure,’ Navarro told NBC News’ Chuck Todd Sunday morning.

‘It doesn’t help when Speaker Pelosi goes out after every day with her scarves flying and just beats the heck out of us for being cruel people,’ he added, referencing Pelosi’s use of fashion scarves to act as face coverings. 

Trump signed four executive orders suspending payroll taxes and extending expired unemployment benefits after negotiations with Congress on a new coronavirus rescue package collapsed

Trump signed four executive orders suspending payroll taxes and extending expired unemployment benefits after negotiations with Congress on a new coronavirus rescue package collapsed

Trump turned his presidential signing event Saturday into a semi-political rally, launching broadsides against Democratic rival Joe Biden and the news media as members of his Bedminster golf club laughed at his attack lines.

Doubling down on his strikes against congressional Democrats, Trump accused them of blocking a compromise deal on relief because they want ‘bailout money for states that have been badly managed for many years’. 

‘Many of the far-left policies they’re pushing have nothing to do with the corona,’ Trump said.

The sweeping moves raised legal questions about the president’s authority to take such steps, as Congress has the sole power to tax and appropriate funds. However, the orders claim powers under the national emergency declared in March in response to the pandemic.

Trump first announced an order that would allow employers to defer payroll tax through the end of the year.  

The second order included a freeze on evictions that will allow hard-hit renters to remain in their homes even if they can’t afford payments. 

A third order, perhaps the most crucial, will extend the unemployment benefits that have run out, offering people an additional $400 per week – down from the $600 that was part of the relief package that expired this month. 

‘It’s $400 a week, and we’re doing it without the Democrats,’ Trump said, asking states to cover 25 percent of the cost. It was not immediately clear where the federal portion would come from – though the president suggested he was looking to use unspent funds from previous coronavirus relief bills – and Trump said it would be up to states to determine how much, if any of it to fund. 

Trump remarked that there should never have been an issue in coming to a benefits deal with Democrats, who had wanted to renew the original $600 a week. 

Republicans originally proposed $200 a week and then upped their offer to $400, but Democrats still said it wasn’t enough. This was one of the major areas of difference that held up getting a legislative deal. 

Asked if the reduction in supplemental benefits to $400 would be a ‘hardship’ for the millions currently eligible, Trump replied: ‘Well no, it’s not a hardship, this is the money that they need this is the money they want and this gives them a great incentive to go back to work.’ 

‘And as you know they were different there was difficulty with the $600 number, because it really was a disincentive,’ he added, referring to the fact that the $600 federal supplement put total average unemployment benefits higher than the average wages in more than 30 states. 

The fourth and final order will extend the suspension of student loan payments through the end of the year.  

Of the new orders, Trump said: ‘We didn’t think we would have to [take executive action] but Democrats have been unreasonable. Not just unreasonable, ridiculous.’ 

Infection rates have continued to surge in the U.S., leading to a continued unprecedented joblessness numbers

Infection rates have continued to surge in the U.S., leading to a continued unprecedented joblessness numbers

Democrats are largely critical of the executive orders, claiming it won’t do enough to address issues Americans are facing.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it on Sunday ‘faulty and unworkable,’ and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the orders were signed to create an ‘illusion’ of helping Americans.

But top economic adviser Larry Kudlow defended the move to ABC News on Sunday morning, claiming it ‘provides significant economic assistance.’

‘There’s still a lot of hardship out there, there’s a lot of heartbreak out there, and the point that President Trump made yesterday is that – on several occasions – we tried to get for example, a compromise deal on the unemployment assistance,’ Kudlow told George Stephanopoulos on ABC News’ This Week.

‘Because the Democrats rejected various compromises, at least twice to my knowledge, the president felt he had to take action and it will be timely action, and it will be temporary action … let’s help those who still need help,’ he added.

Up until now, Trump has largely stayed on the sidelines during his administration’s negotiations with congressional leaders. 

The talks, which broke down in recent days, were led on his side by chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Democrats had said they would lower their spending demands from $3.4trillion to $2trillion but said the White House needed to increase their offer. Republicans have proposed a $1trillion plan. 

White House aides have watched the talks break down with apprehension, fearful that failure to close a deal could further damage an economic recovery already showing signs of slowing down.  

The aides are trying to frame the executive orders signings as a sign that Trump was taking action in a time of crisis.  

Trump has not specified how the payroll tax deferral would work, and it was unclear whether he had the authority to take such an action without approval from Congress.

The move would not aid unemployed workers, who do not pay the tax when they are jobless, and would face bipartisan opposition in Congress. 

The cut, long a Trump wish, would affect payroll taxes that are intended to cover Medicare and Social Security benefits and take 7 percent of an employee’s income. Employers also pay 7.65 percent of their payrolls into the funds. 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (left) and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (right) spent the last two weeks meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer at the Capitol to negotiate a coronavirus relief deal

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (left) and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (right) spent the last two weeks meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer at the Capitol to negotiate a coronavirus relief deal

Friday’s negotiations at the Capitol added up to only ‘a disappointing meeting,’ said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York. 

He said the White House had rejected an offer by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D – California) to curb Democratic demands by about $1trillion.  

Pelosi and Schumer continue to insist on a huge aid package to address a surge in cases and deaths, double-digit joblessness and the threat of poverty for millions of the newly unemployed.

Senate Republicans have been split, with roughly half of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s rank and file opposed to another rescue bill at all. 

Four prior coronavirus response bills totaling almost $3trillion have won approval on bipartisan votes despite intense wrangling, but conservatives have recoiled at the prospect of another Pelosi-brokered agreement with a whopping deficit-financed cost.

McConnell has kept his distance from the negotiations while coordinating with Mnuchin and Meadows. 

Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden accused Trump of waging ‘reckless war’ on Social Security with new executive action on coronavirus relief.  

Payroll taxes are used to fund Medicare and Social Security, and Biden called the tax holiday ‘Donald Trump’s first shot in a new, reckless war on Social Security.’

‘He is laying out his roadmap to cutting Social Security,’ Biden said in a statement. ‘Our seniors and millions of Americans with disabilities are under enough stress without Trump putting their hard-earned Social Security benefits in doubt.’ 

Payroll taxes are used to fund Medicare and Social Security, and Biden called the tax holiday 'Donald Trump's first shot in a new, reckless war on Social Security'

Payroll taxes are used to fund Medicare and Social Security, and Biden called the tax holiday ‘Donald Trump’s first shot in a new, reckless war on Social Security’

Biden said that Trump had declared the payroll tax holiday, which extends from September 1 to December 31, ‘with no protections or guarantees’ to make up the lost revenue in the Social Security Trust Fund. 

He called Trump’s actions ‘a series of half-baked measures.’ 

Pelosi, meanwhile, issued a joint statement with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, saying Trump’s moves were ‘unworkable, weak and narrow.’

‘Today’s meager announcements by the President show President Trump still does not comprehend the seriousness or the urgency of the health and economic crises facing working families,’ the statement said.

The Congressional Democrats said that Trump’s orders would ‘provide little real help to families.’ 

Donald Trump is escorted from White House press conference minutes after it began

BREAKING NEWS: Donald Trump is escorted from White House press conference minutes after he began speaking by Secret Service agent who whispered in his ear

  • President Donald Trump was escorted from his press conference 
  • A Secret Service agent came in the room, whispered to him and lead him out 
  • Unclear what happened 

President Donald Trump was escorted from his press conference on Monday less than five minutes after it began when a Secret Service agent stepped into the briefing room and whispered in his ear.

It’s unclear what the agent said or why the president was escorted from the press briefing. Secret Service agents screen all the reporters ahead of the event and lock down the room before the president enters with agents standing at all its entry points.

President Trump did not respond to reporter questions about what was happening.

Reporters in the briefing room indicated the room was being locked down, which is standard procedure when there is a security breach.

Police could be seen outside the press briefing area, which sits in the West Wing of the White House.