The saga of the aggressive White House raccoon—who may actually be several raccoons—continues today with yet another attack on reporters. Just as he was about to start recording a segment, CNN senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns literally had to scream at the biting beast. The video is probably the best thing you’ll watch today:
This is what a consummate professional @joejohnscnn is. Seconds before his @NewDay live shot, he fends off a raccoon attack! Just another day in the nutty news cycle. #behindthescenes #whitehouseraccoon #wildlife pic.twitter.com/p13w3QICiD
— Alisyn Camerota (@AlisynCamerota) October 7, 2020
“Frickin’ raccoons, man,” says Johns after shouting at the raccoon and throwing what looks like a box in its direction. This wasn’t his first run-in with the tough critter—one of them had jumped on Johns’s leg last week. Later Johns tweeted that he “heard one of the raccoons (pretty sure there are more than one) slipped into a WH guard shack last night .. they’re totally unafraid of people at this stage.”
He’s not wrong: Last week, CBS White House correspondent Paula Reid tweeted about raccoons attacking multiple news crews on the North Lawn of the White House.
Strong Pawnee vibes at White House this morning as a raccoon attacked multiple news crews on North Lawn. 🦝 allegedly grabbed pant leg of a photographer & then a corespondent before being fended off. (WH 🦝🦝 🦝 pictured here in more peaceful times.) pic.twitter.com/o5VbTUHxBR
— Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCBS) September 28, 2020
Reid later reported that the White House grounds had a cage trap with marshmallow bait to capture the rogue raccoons, but obviously these animals are smarter than that. The next day, Reid found the cage empty, marshmallows mysteriously missing.
CNN White House correspondent Kate Bennett on Monday managed to get a photo of one menacing tree-climber.
— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) October 5, 2020
Raccoons have long visited the White House, whether they were invited or not. The most famous, of course, is Rebecca, President Calvin Coolidge’s pet raccoon who attended presidential events like the Easter Egg Roll. (So cool she would’ve merited a Playbook “spotted” mention if it existed at the time.) But the scrappy fighters who came to Obama’s White House looking for food in 2009 were met with a National Park Service welcoming (cough, removal).
Who will the raccoons of 2020 attack next? When will they strike again? Is this nature healing?