Then the man turned his back to the television cameras showing the utterly surreal scene live around the world. Two things told the tale: His oversized suit jacket – large enough to drape over his government-issue firearm. And the earpiece snaking out of his crisp white dress shirt.
That's the look of a US Secret Service agent. The look on the president's face as the man spoke also told the tale. Calm but serious.
"Oh, okay," Trump said as the man said something and motioned towards the blue door that separates the James Brady Briefing Room from the White House press office.
The 45th president loves a good argument. But he did not try to change the large man's mind.
Something clearly was amiss. Presidents are not just removed from public events by their security details because of something mildly suspicious. After all the drama of Trump's term that has become to somehow feel normal, this rose to the level of serious.
During this correspondent's nearly 20 years reporting in Washington, I cannot recall a similar scene. Then-Vice President Dick Cheney has recalled being carried to a secure bunker under the executive mansion during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
But he was not "The Decider," meaning the leader of the free world. And that scene did not play out on live television.
This reporter has ridden out lock downs in the press area of the White House, which are regular but not routine. I have been, shall we say, helped back inside the briefing room by a Secret Service officer who was just doing his job.
But this president being escorted out of the briefing room – amid a pandemic, amid sometimes-violent protests over racial inequality as he floats the idea of accepting the Republican presidential nomination at a Civil War battlefield – felt somehow poetic.
Trump breeds chaos. He thrived off of it for much of his term. In general, chaos tends to breed chaos. That's what came to Trump's own briefing room on Monday evening.
Even more surreal was what happened next.
The president returned to the briefing room, where he shrugged off the incident, saying the world has been a "dangerous place" for a while now. That's not likely to change anytime soon, the "American carnage" president told reporters.
He denied being "rattled," as one reporter asked. And he didn't look it. Not as he was being informed of the incident and not when he came back.
Passersby on 17th Street NW near the White House tweeted videos of law enforcement personnel administering first aid to someone lying on a sidewalk as Trump was again back at the lectern with the presidential seal.
This scribe gives Trump credit for coming back to take a good number of questions on a range of topics. He never seemed to flinch and he commendably praised the Secret Service for the apparent fast work outside neutralising a potential threat and for protecting the current occupant of the Office of the President, who happens to be a former reality television host.
A cynical person might wonder if the Trump campaign is already prepping a campaign video showing the president marching back into the briefing room on a split screen with the chaos outside. For now, let's all marvel at another dramatic episode of what many have dubbed "The Trump Show."
There rarely is a dull moment in a presidency unlike any other. Tune in tomorrow, folks, because anything is possible.