U.S. Secret Service denies it tackled Chinese official during Trump visit to Beijing
Axios has published a rather remarkable tale gathered from insider sources in Washington, D.C.: “On Thursday, November 9, when President Trump and his team visited Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, Chief of Staff John Kelly and a U.S. Secret Service agent skirmished with Chinese security officials over the nuclear football.”
- When the U.S. military aide carrying the nuclear football — the device that can launch America’s nuclear missiles — entered the Great Hall, “Chinese security officials blocked his entry,” according to Axios. Then, “Kelly rushed over and told the U.S. officials to keep walking,” after which there was a brief scuffle in which “a U.S. Secret Service agent grabbed the Chinese security official and tackled him to the ground.”
- Why did it happen? Axios says that “Trump’s team followed the normal security procedure to brief the Chinese before their visit to Beijing…but somebody at the Chinese end either didn’t get the memo or decided to mess with the Americans anyway.”
- The U.S. Secret Service has denied that the incident took place, tweeting on February 19, “FACT CHECK: Reports about Secret Service agents tackling a host nation official during the President’s trip to China in Nov 2017 are false.”
- But the rumors here run deep: James McGregor, a veteran China businessman, responded to the story by saying, “This story has been circulating through journalism and diplomatic circles since the Trump visit. I have heard it from enough different people to believe it is true.”
- Here are SupChina summaries of the first and second days of Trump’s visit to Beijing in November 2017.