According to Fox News a senior official in the direct chain of command for defending Washington D.C. has said that more than 50 members of the Secret Service have been injured by rioters that have surrounded the White House, many throwing bottles and Molotov Cocktails.
Additionally law enforcement officials are concerned that groups are strategically placing vehicles filled with incendiary materials near the white house to later weaponize as car bombs.
Security measures in D.C. have been dramatically beefed up as U.S. Marshals and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents have been deployed to the streets alongside local police and Homeland Security agents, including the Secret Service, the Justice Department confirmed late Sunday.
The White House also shut down the exterior lights that normally illuminate property early Monday morning, reportedly so that the Secret Service could use night-vision equipment to monitor protesters.
Additionally, the entire Washington, D.C. National Guard is being called in to help with the response to protests outside the White House and elsewhere in the nation’s capital, according to two Defense Department officials.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said Sunday that she had requested 500 DC Guardsman to assist local law enforcement. Later on Sunday, as the protests escalated, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy ordered the rest of the Guardsman — roughly 1,200 soldiers — to report.
On Sunday it was also confirmed that President Trump was taken to the White House’s underground bunker on Friday night when protests outside initially intensified.
A senior administration official confirmed the information initially reported by the New York Times. “Wasn’t long. But he went,” the official said Sunday.
White House spokesman Judd Deere refused to comment saying, “The White House does not comment on security protocols and decisions,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said.
The scene on Sunday was similar to the episode outside the White House Friday when Trump was escorted to safety.
Trump’s precise position Sunday night was not immediately clear. Trump traveled to Florida on Saturday to view the first manned space launch from the U.S. in nearly a decade but did return to the White House.
“The President doesn’t make the call to move to the bunker,” Dan Bongino, a former lead Secret Service agent in the presidential protective detail and wrote on Sunday. “The trained professionals of the Secret Service do.”
Rioters set fire to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church across the street from the White late Sunday. The parish house contains offices and parlors for gatherings. The basement, which was also torched, is used for childcare during church services.
The church says every president beginning with James Madison has attended a service at the church, giving it the nickname, “the church of presidents.” The first services at the church were held in 1816, according to its website.
Before the blaze, church officials had said they were thankful that the previous day of protests hadn’t significantly damaged the structure.
“We are fortunate that the damage to the buildings is limited,” Rev. Rob Fisher, the rector of the church, said in a statement earlier Sunday, several hours before the fire was set.
Piled up road signs and plastic barriers were set ablaze as part of a raging fire in the middle of H Street that included an American flag which was pulled of a nearby building.
The Secret Service tweeted late Sunday: “In an effort to ensure public safety, pedestrians and motorists are encouraged to avoid streets and parks near the White House complex.”
The Secret Service also said it “respects the right to assemble and we ask that individuals do so peacefully for the safety of all,” a request which apparently was not heeded.