President Donald Trump praised the Secret Service on Saturday after they caught a California man who entered the White House grounds Friday after climbing the fence on the east side of the premises. During a lunch with his Cabinet officials at the Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Virginia, Trump said, “The service did a fantastic job.”
Trump was inside the White House when the intruder broke in. Commenting on the incident, Trump told reporters, “It was a troubled person. It was very sad.”
The intruder was identified by the police as 26-year-old Jonathan Tran of Milpitas. A Secret Service officer asked Tran if he had an authorized pass to enter the restricted area, to which Tran replied, “No, I am a friend of the president. I have an appointment,” according to the police report obtained by CNN. The report also described the incident specifying details about how Tran entered the White House on Friday night.
Tran was seen jumping over the fence at the northwest courtyard of the Treasury Building, which is beside the White House. However, he was not spotted until a Secret Service officer moved toward him, according to White House security footage.
A separate complaint was filed at the U.S. District Court, which also said that Tran was hiding behind a pillar before trying to enter through the south portico entrance. Secret Service officer Wayne Azevedo said in the complaint that during a search after the arrest, “two cans of mace were found on Tran, including one his jacket pocket. Tran was also carrying among other things, a United States passport, an Apple laptop computer, a book written by President Trump, and a letter he had written to President Trump.”
Azevedo added, “In the letter, Tran mentioned Russian hackers and said he had information of relevance. Tran alleged that he had been followed, and his ‘phone and email communications (had been) read by third parties,’ and that he had ‘been called schizophrenic,'” CNN reported.
The incident is reportedly the first such security breach since Trump took office in January.
Several security breaches happened during Barack Obama’s presidency too. In 2014, Omar Gonzales broke into the White House through the north portico doors. He was also armed with a three and a half inch folding knife. The Secret Service arrested him immediately after he broke in through the doors.
Another incident took place in 2014 when a mentally unstable army veteran crossed the fence on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the White House and broke into the East Room before the Secret Service could get hold of him. The first family was not at home during the breach. This incident and several others at that time led to the resignation of Julia Pierson, the then-director of the Secret Service Agency, according to Los Angeles Times.