President Bush stepped into the middle of a confrontation and pulled his lead Secret Service agent away from Chilean security officials who barred his bodyguards from entering an elegant dinner for 21 world leaders Saturday night.
Several Chilean and American agents got into a pushing and shoving match outside the cultural center where the dinner was held. The incident happened after Bush and his wife, Laura, had just posed for pictures on a red carpet with the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and his wife, Luisa Duran.
As Bush stepped inside, Chilean agents closed ranks at the door, blocking the president’s agents from following. Stopping for more pictures, Bush noticed the fracas and turned back. He reached through the dispute and pulled his agent from the scrum and into the building.
The president, looking irritated, straightened his shirt cuffs as he went into the dinner. The incident was shown on APEC television.
“Chilean security tried to stop the president’s Secret Service from accompanying him,” said White House deputy press secretary Claire Buchan. “He told them they were with him and the issue was resolved.”