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Trump claims he went to bunker for ‘inspection’ amid violent protests

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 26: U.S. President Donald Trump makes remarks during an event on protecting seniors with diabetes, in the Rose Garden at the White House on May 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. The United States is closing in on 100,000 deaths in less than four months caused by the coronavirus. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

 (CNN) — President Donald Trump sought to explain his presence in an underground White House bunker during violent weekend protests as an “inspection” rather than a retreat for his own safety, telling a radio interviewer Wednesday he was only in the safe room for a “tiny” amount of time.

Multiple people familiar with the matter described a different scenario to CNN. They said Trump was rushed to the bunker for nearly an hour amid intense protests on Friday evening. A law enforcement source and another source familiar with the matter tell CNN that first lady Melania Trump and their son, Barron, were also taken to the bunker.

Trump, who was enraged when reports emerged he was rushed to the secure location, told Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio that he went during the day and not when protests were raging outside his front door.

“I was there for a tiny, short little period of time,” he said, adding it was “more for an inspection.”

After those reporters emerged, Trump fumed that he looked weak and insisted he be photographed outside the White House gates, a demand that ultimate led to his visit Monday to St. John’s Church across Lafayette Square.

In his interview, Trump said he’d visited the bunker previously. He said he’d been there “two and a half times.”

But he said those were more to get a sense of the space rather than to protect himself from harm.

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