The nuclear football is the black briefcase containing the nuclear launch codes for the president. The aide carrying it is required to remain close to the president at all times.
The interaction reportedly took place during President Trump’s trip to Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. The aide carrying the briefcase was blocked from entering the hall, and another official quickly told Kelly, five sources told Axios.
Kelly then came over and told the officials to continue walking in, after which a Chinese security official grabbed at Kelly, and the chief of staff pushed him off, according to Axios. A Secret Service agent then tackled the Chinese security official, the publication reported.
U.S. officials were asked to not discuss the interaction, according to Axios. Chinese officials were never in possession of the bag containing the launch codes, and a top Chinese security official apologized to the Trump team afterward.
The interaction took place during Trump’s trip to China in November as part of his Asian tour.
The Trump administration’s handling of the launch codes came under scrutiny last year after a visitor to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida posted a photo on Facebook with the person he said was responsible for carrying the football.
Note: On 02/19/2018 The Secret Service has tweeted that these reports are false.
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