A physical altercation erupted Nov. 9 when a Chinese security official attempted to bar a U.S. military aide carrying the nuclear weapon codes from entering the Great Hall of the People during President Donald Trump’s visit to Beijing, according to Axios.
The aide was carrying the “nuclear football,” the briefcase with the emergency codes that allow the president to authorize a nuclear attack when away from a command center.
“An individual, not part of the official delegation, attempted to prevent one of our protectees from entering a room. A U.S. Secret Service agent quickly intervened and a short scuffle ensued,” according to a statement from the Secret Service, reported Axios.
Upon entering the Great Hall, Chinese security officials attempted to block his entry. A U.S. official told Chief of Staff John Kelly of the incident, who rushed over and told U.S. officials to keep walking.
A Chinese security official then grabbed Kelly, who shoved the man’s hand off his body, and a U.S. Secret Service agent intervened.
In a statement, the Secret Service said “at no time did anyone involved fall to the ground,” according to an update on the Axios article.
The scuffle was over as quickly as it began, and U.S. officials were asked not to discuss it.
At no point did Chinese officials have the nuclear football in their possession, nor touch the briefcase that holds the codes, according to Axios, and afterwards, the head of Chinese security detail apologized for the misunderstanding.