President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were able to see firsthand some of the protective techniques in which the U.S. Secret Service has been trained to protect them -- for instance, how service officers would respond to an attack on the president's limousine or what happens during a water rescue.
At the training center for the Secret Service in Maryland, Mr. Trump and the first lady observed from under a tent as two U.S. Secret Service Dodge Chargers raced through the Protective Operations Driving Course performing "J-turns," which involve driving in reverse, accelerating, and then braking, turning the car 180 degrees, and continuing to drive forward in the same direction. The president was smiling as he watched, a pool reporter observed. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders sat in the front seat of one of the cars, with White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino in the back.
Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton received this kind of demonstration during their presidencies, as well. And Bush was even allowed one step further -- the Secret Service let him behind the wheel of his limo for a J-turn, CBS News Mark Knoller noted.
During the driver training briefing, the Secret Service also recounted for Mr. Trump some instances when their training was put into practice. One story involved the Cadillac used by the U.S. Secret Service in October 1983 to evacuate President Reagan from the golf course at the Augusta National, when an armed gunman stormed the gates. Reagan was playing the 16th hole at the time. Secret Service deployed long guns, and moved Reagan to safety. (The gunman took five hostages and held them in the pro shop. He wanted to talk to Reagan, who did try unsuccessfully to speak with him by walkie-talkie. ''This is the President of the United States. This is Ronald Reagan. I understand you want to talk to me,'' Reagan said, according to an account in the New York Times.)
Mr. Trump was shown the car used in that maneuver.
The president was also shown a 1983 Cadillac convertible used as a "follow up" in parades with President Reagan and a 1993 Cadillac used by President Clinton.
The visit comes after a report in August that the agency was running out of funding to pay agents needed to protect the president and his family because an unprecedented number of White House protectees and because of frequent travel, USA Today reported.
The Secret Service director said at the time that the Secret Service had the funding it needed to meet all mission requirements through Sept. 30 within the statutory pay caps, but the agency estimated that about 1,100 will work overtime hours in excess of statutory pay caps through December.