With White House Walled Off, RNC Moves to Undisclosed Location Over Protest Concerns

President Donald Trump's campaign "war room" and the Republican National Committee (RNC) moved their election night headquarters, citing potential unrest and security concerns.

The RNC moved their election operations to an "undisclosed location" Tuesday evening over fears late-night results could lead to violent protests or general civil unrest across Washington D.C. The Trump campaign simultaneously moved their primary political operation from Arlington, Virginia, to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, a part of the wider White House complex.

The campaign's retreat to a government building just feet from the West Wing, as The New York Times reported, sparked the latest criticism over the administration casually blurring lines between partisan political activity and governing.

Two sources familiar with the RNC's last-minute exit from their downtown Washington headquarters said it was prompted by potential threats of civil unrest, Axios' Alayna Treene reported. The RNC is now set up at an "undisclosed location" for the remainder of the election process.

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in a statement to the Times that their war room "needed to be in close proximity to the president and there is no expense whatsoever to American taxpayers for the use of a room in the EEOB, where events like prayer services and receptions for outside groups frequently occur."

Multiple news outlets reported Monday that Black Lives Matter and Shutdown DC activists expect to draw thousands of demonstrators to the area should Trump reject the election results or if former Vice President Joe Biden has clearly lost the contest.

"I'm not thinking about concession speech or acceptance speech yet," Trump said during stop to address RNC staff at their Arlington, Virginia, headquarters offices Tuesday afternoon, prior to the move. "Winning is easy. Losing is never easy—not for me, it's not."

D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham on Monday penned a letter to the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) denouncing violence and destruction of property, but vowing to protect First Amendment rights to peacefully protest.

white house wall security rnc
Workers erect barriers in an expanded permitter around the White House the night before the presidential election on November 2, 2020 in Washington, DC. The District is taking precautionary measures for expected demonstrations on Election Day. SAMUEL CORUM / Stringer/Getty Images

The Trump campaign's move to the new Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) has been criticized as a violation of the Hatch Act by some former government ethics officials. The EEOB is part of the larger White House property and is intended for use solely by the Executive Office of the President—not for political campaign activity.

"The argument the Trumpers made when they desecrated the White House for the RNC was that they were only using spaces not normally used for official business. Now that they've got @US_OSC fully cowed, they've abandoned even that pretext. They're straight up torching the law," tweeted Walter Shaub, former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Tuesday evening.

Critics on social media immediately blasted the RNC and Trump campaign's last-minute moves to hunkered down locations.

"They are retreating," one person tweeted. "First they moved the party venue. Then they reduced the party guests from 400 to 250. Now they are moving the war room to the White House. What's next? Bunker?"

Newsweek reached out to both the RNC and Trump campaign Tuesday evening for additional remarks.