While there are not really normal days in Washington anymore, CNN Senior Washington Correspondent Joe Johns had a little more excitement added to his day, thanks to a raccoon.
Johns said that he and the raccoon have a history. Last week, before doing his live shot for “New Day,” Johns felt something tug at his leg. He looked down and saw a raccoon.
“What would you do? I freaked out,” he said. “This was 20 sec before air and I start yelling at it, ‘Get out of here!’”
It came back before he went live, so Johns threw something to scare it off.
Fast forward to early Wednesday and the raccoon decides to try its antics again on the White House lawn. Johns just finished his live hit at the top of his piece and is waiting for a video to play before his second hit.
“An NBC camera man yells my name after my tape insert… I turn around and it’s there again,” he said.
He throws something else to scare it, but this time it doesn’t move. A Secret Service officer with a flashlight tries to get the raccoon to leave, but it runs right through the CNN media tent.
Video from a CNN camera captures Johns off-air as he is tries to get the raccoon out of the tent. In the process, his earpiece comes unplugged, so Johns has no idea if he is live on the air or still in his video insert. Luckily, he has a few seconds before he goes live, and recovers just before the feed comes back to him.
“So, this is the second time the raccoon has come back at the top of ‘New Day.’ Who knows why, but I think it’s the light that attracts the animals, and you add to that – the fact that White House campus is now barren of people… and the animals have run of the house,” Johns said, referring to those in quarantine and working from home.
“The magic of television, and no one had a clue.”
At least no one knew until anchor Alisyn Camerota tweeted the video on her social media account.
“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,” she said.
Now it’s been viewed over 1.4 million times, and everyone, including Johns, is having a good laugh about it.