White House press told to leave grounds as tensions rise over attempted removal of Andrew Jackson statue
Tensions are on the rise as protesters tried to take down the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Square near the White House in Washington, D.C. Associated Press
WASHINGTON – Tensions were high in front of the White House Monday night after Black Lives Matter protesters worked to remove the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Square.
Additionally, Secret Service confirmed to USA TODAY that members of the press were asked to leave the White House grounds after CNN first reported that their staffers and other members of the White House press corps were told to vacate.
A Secret Service spokesperson told USA TODAY, "On Monday evening, in response to the increasingly violent demonstrations in Lafayette Park, four members of the media were misdirected by the Secret Service to leave the White House grounds."
"The members of the press were rerouted to exits on the south side of the complex for their own safety," the statement continued.
Protesters have continued to target historical symbols of the Confederacy across the country. Late last Friday, protesters in Washington, D.C., and in Raleigh, North Carolina, toppled statues. A statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was toppled in Richmond, Virginia earlier in June.
The Andrew Jackson statue had not been taken down as of 10 p.m. EST., and police officers have responded to the area.
The protests over racial injustice were sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a Black man whose neck was pinned under the knee of a white police officer for nearly nine minutes in May.
President Donald Trump tweeted that "numerous people" had been arrested "for the disgraceful vandalism, in Lafayette Park, of the magnificent Statue of Andrew Jackson, in addition to the exterior defacing of St. John’s Church across the street."
This story is breaking and will be updated.
Historical Confederate monuments are being taken down and defaced from protests over the death of George Floyd. Storyful