News World US President Donald Trump meets Malcolm Turnbull at White House amid security scare

US President Donald Trump meets Malcolm Turnbull at White House amid security scare

Trump joint press conference
Mr Turnbull said he was "inspired" by the US's company tax cuts while Mr Trump praised Australia's immigration system. Photo: Getty
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The White House was put into temporary lockdown during a press conference between President Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull after an incident at a security barrier.

Australian and US reporters in the White House press briefing room were taken to a basement while Secret Service and other authorities investigated the incident on Friday.

The US Secret Service tweeted a female driver crashed her car into a security barrier of the White House complex, saying “no shots were fired during the vehicle incident near the White House”.

The woman was “immediately apprehended” and no law enforcement personnel were injured.

A spokesman for Mr Turnbull said the Australian Federal Police advised the crash had “no impact on the prime minister”.

White House security
CNN, citing unnamed law enforcement sources, said the woman intentionally drove into the barricade. Photo: Getty

The driver, who was not immediately named, is known to the Secret Service and is believed to have mental health issues and not believed to have intentionally targeted the president, law enforcement sources told CNN.

The location of the incident is not in close proximity to the West Wing or the presidential residence, reported CNN.

Some aides were moved from their top floor offices to the ground level in the West Wing as security personnel assessed the situation, a White House official said.

Mr Trump later thanked the secret service for a job “well done”.

As a result, Mr Turnbull’s exit from the White House was delayed after spending most of the day in talks with Mr Trump, culminating in a joint press conference.

Earlier, with First Lady Melania Trump by his side, Mr Trump declared America’s relationship with Australia is “stronger than ever before” after greeting Mr Turnbull and his wife Lucy on the South Lawn.

“The relationship we have with Australia is a terrific relationship and probably stronger now than ever before, maybe because of our relationship, our friendship,” Mr Trump said.

“We’re working on trade deals, we’re working on military and protection and all of the things that you would think we would be discussing today.

“A lot of good things will come out of this visit,” Mr Trump said.

Mr Trump said in a tweet he was “honoured” to welcome the Turnbulls to the White House.

Mr Turnbull said it was the 100th anniversary of the World War I battle for Hamel in France where Australian and US forces first fought together.

“We have been fighting side-by-side in freedom’s cause ever since, 100 years of mateship and 100 more to come.

“Thank you and Melania for your hospitality and friendship,” Mr Turnbull said.

The leaders were expected to discuss tough new sanctions Mr Trump announced against North Korea, trade, security in the Indo-Pacific and infrastructure investment.

Leaders show united front

Standing side by side at separate podiums at a joint press conference, Mr Trump said the world might be in for a “very unfortunate day” if America’s latest sanctions on North Korea do not curb the rogue regime’s nuclear missile program.

Mr Trump and Mr Turnbull put on mostly a united agreeing on continuing pressure on North Korea with sanctions, “merit based” immigration and dealings with China and Syria.

However, they did differ on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and gun control.

“We’ll have to see,” said Mr Trump, when asked if all options are still on the table if the sanctions don’t work.

He did not rule out a “very rough day” with a military response toward North Korea.

“Maybe very unfortunate for the world,” the president said.

On a lighter note, Mr Trump announced the US would name a new combat ship the USS Canberra.

When asked about gun control policies and arming teachers with guns in the wake of the Florida school shooting, Mr Turnbull said he was “satisfied” with Australia’s gun laws.

“You have a very, very different history and I will focus on our own policy arguments and debates, and wish you wise deliberation in your own.

“I have to add to that, they’re very different countries, with very different sets of problems. But I think we’re well on the way to solving that horrible problem that happens far too often in the United States,” Mr Turnbull said.