News & Politics

The “White House Raccoon” Strikes Again

This is not actually the White House raccoon. Photograph by iStock.

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:

“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.

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.

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?

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Web Producer/Writer

Rosa joined Washingtonian in 2016 after graduating from Mount Holyoke College. She covers arts and culture for the magazine. She’s written about anti-racism efforts at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, dinosaurs in the revamped fossil hall at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, and the horrors of taking a digital detox. When she can, she performs with her family’s Puerto Rican folkloric music ensemble based in Jersey City. She lives in Adams Morgan.

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