WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama was held aboard Air Force One for more than a half-hour after returning to the capital Thursday night because of a suspicious package found at the White House, a spokesman said.
Obama, who spent the day traveling in Delaware and New York, landed at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington just after 10 p.m. but remained on the plane while security at the White House determined whether the package was dangerous.
He emerged from the plane 40 minutes later and boarded Marine One with his aides for the helicopter ride back to the White House.
“The president returned to the White House after the package was cleared,” said Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary.
The suspicious package was the third found at the White House on Thursday, adding to the skittishness of a day that saw the president and his staff face one crisis after another. Although the president was on the road to give a speech on infrastructure and attend Democratic fundraisers, he spent much of the day responding to the downing of a passenger jet in Ukraine and the Israeli ground invasion of Gaza.
The previous two suspicious packages were found at the White House while he was away and prompted the Secret Service to lock down the compound. After the police investigated, the White House was reopened.