Canton Repository


Timken’s meeting with Bush: Chaos outside, business inside

Copley Washington correspondent

WASHINGTON — Timken Co. Chairman W.R. “Tim’’ Timken
Jr. has been to the White House many times, but until Wednesday, he’d never been there right after a shooting.

Timken was on his way with other business leaders to hear
President Bush pitch his proposed federal income tax cut when the industrialist was caught up in a flurry of police and Secret Service agents.

He’d left for the White House at about 11:45 a.m., just minutes after a Secret Service agent shot a man brandishing a gun outside the gate to the presidential residence. The man, identified as Robert Pickett of Evansville, Ind., was hospitalized after being hit in the leg.

Before the drive to the meeting, Timken was told that “something had happened,’’ but few details were available. “Somebody tried to break in. That’s all we knew,’’ he said.

When they arrived, he added, “A helicopter was hovering over the area of the (White House) Ellipse and police cars were ... all the way around the Ellipse. Everything seemed to be shut off.’’

The Ellipse is a large, public park on the south side of the White House.

Blocked by police cars, Timken and others got out of their vehicles and walked the last block to the White House. They entered at the southwest gate, very near to where the shooting occurred.

During the meeting later with Bush, Timken was impressed that “the president didn’t even give any indication that such a thing should disrupt the normal business that we were doing.’’

Bush didn’t mention the shooting while meeting with the 20-plus business leaders after lunch, according to Timken, who didn’t hear anyone else in the White House mention the incident either. “It was like it never happened,’’ he said. “Internally, they were not concerned.’’

Timken was invited in his capacity as chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers. The last time Timken went to the White House was more than a year ago, when he was visiting as a representative of the organization, he said.