MIAMI – The driver of one of the press vans taking a group of reporters to accompany US President Donald Trump during his stay in South Florida was detained Monday for carrying a firearm.
The driver was detained after a Secret Service agent found the gun in a bag during a routine security screening before arriving at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Palm Beach where he often travels to relax during the winter.
The driver said he forgot to leave his “personal firearm” in his car before getting in the press van to pick up the small group of reporters who cover the president’s activities outside the White House.
The check was done in a parking lot outside Mar-a-Lago before the van was to join the presidential motorcade, which about an hour later this morning left there for Trump International Golf Club in nearby West Palm Beach.
After the discovery, the driver was interrogated by the agents and was not allowed to enter the club, nor were two other drivers, who were replaced for security reasons.
The Secret Service said in a statement that the driver was “briefly detained” at the checkpoint outside the secure area for being in “lawful possession” of the weapon, which was a “prohibited item” there.
They also said that “at no time was any Secret Service protectee in danger or impacted. All Secret Service security measures worked” during this incident, in which the Palm Beach County police collaborated.
The press van was driven to the golf club by a member of the White House staff.
That wasn’t the only incident involving a vehicle from the presidential motorcade – another van had a slight collision with a Secret Service car, though without causing any injuries.
Members of the press corps accompanying Trump were unable to see whether the president was riding in his official vehicle.
In fact, the press has not seen the president since Friday, when he decided to play his favorite sport of golf over the weekend.