Moments earlier, Trump had pressed a button on his desk, summoning Vice-President Mike Pence to the Oval Office to serve him the frosty beverage.
According to one aide, when Pence opened the can, it made “an unusually loud noise,” sending Trump ducking under his desk in a millisecond.
At a news conference, minutes later, the press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, attempted to tamp down speculation that Trump had acted in a cowardly manner during the Diet Coke incident. “The President prudently repositioned himself under his desk in an aggressive crouch,” she said. “He was ready for anything.”
Pence agreed with her assessment. “The President was putting himself in a position where, if need be, he could defend the entire country against an attack,” he said. “I, for one, am honored to serve a man of such valor.”
The White House physician, Ronny Jackson, also had high praise for Trump. “He has the ability to flee a loud noise of a man half his age,” the doctor said.