A driver in the presidential motorcade was removed from his duties Monday after the Secret Service found a gun in his bag outside the gates of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.
The driver, who could not be immediately identified, was briefly detained and questioned by the Secret Service a little after 8 a.m., just before Trump headed to the golf course for much of the day. He was driving one of three vans for members of the news media and had been in the presidential motorcade all weekend.
Before the vans enter the Mar-a-Lago estate to follow Trump, Secret Service agents search bags, check guests with a handheld metal detector and scour vans with explosives-sniffing dogs.
The gun was found during that process, and the driver told reporters he had accidentally left his “personal firearm” in his bag. The Secret Service later said the driver held a permit for the gun.
Agents dumped all the contents from the man’s bag and moved him away from the group to a nearby tent.
“The Secret Service can confirm that an individual serving as a staff contracted driver was briefly detained by U.S. Secret Service personnel and other law enforcement officials today. The individual was found to be in lawful possession of a prohibited item (firearm) outside the secure area at a Secret Service security screening checkpoint,” a statement from the agency said.
Drivers in the motorcade are often volunteer supporters of the president or local activists. Sometimes, the government pays drivers for extended trips like this weekend’s. On other trips, drivers have said they were contacted by local Republican officials to drive in the motorcade with little notice.
The detained driver was replaced by the White House makeup artist, who also serves as a press assistant on trips. Two other drivers were also replaced after the gun was found.
A few minutes later, one of the other press vans grazed a parked car outside Mar-a-Lago.