- JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
- The news website Axios reported on Sunday that a Secret Service member tackled a Chinese security official during President Donald Trump’s trip to China in November.
- The incident reportedly began when the Chinese security detail tried to prevent the military aide carrying the “nuclear football” from entering a room behind Trump.
- The White House chief of staff John Kelly intervened and was grabbed by a Chinese security official, whom a Secret Service agent then tackled.
- The nuclear football was never in contact with a foreign official, and the Chinese security detail later apologized.
A US Secret Service agent reportedly tackled a Chinese security official during President Donald Trump’s visit to Beijing in November after attempts to block the movement of the “nuclear football.”
The nuclear football, officially known as the president’s emergency satchel, is a black leather briefcase that allows the US president to authorize a nuclear strike while away from a command center. It is carried by a military aide and is supposed to be in close proximity to the president at all times.
- Mark Wilson/Getty Images
But according to a report from the news website Axios, when Trump met with President Xi Jinping in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, Chinese security blocked the entry of the aide carrying the nuclear football.
A US official quickly informed Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, who “rushed over” and told US officials, “We’re moving in.”
As the US delegation started moving into the hall, a Chinese security official “grabbed Kelly,” who pushed away the man’s hand, according to Axios. It was then that a US Secret Service agent apparently tackled the security official to the ground.
The briefcase was reportedly never touched by a foreign official, with the head of the Chinese security head later apologizing about the incident. Axios said five sources confirmed the brief incident.
Last year, during one of Trump’s many visits to his Mar-a-Lago resort in southern Florida, a club member took a photo of a military aide who was reportedly responsible for carrying the nuclear football and posted it on Instagram. The incident raised concerns over whether the briefcase was still the best way for highly sensitive military information to be made available to the president on short notice.