RTÉ's Washington Correspondent Brian O'Donovan was outside the White House as US President Donald Trump was taken to hospital on board his helicopter, Marine One.

The White House and the Washington Monument were bathed in golden light in what would have been a stunning sunset on any other evening.

But the onlookers who had stopped by were not there to witness an autumn dusk, they were there to see something else.

Media and members of the public had gathered as the US president's helicopter, Marine One, landed on the South Lawn of the White House.

Once Donald Trump was onboard, the engines roared loudly and the US leader was carried into the cloudless sky.

Twenty minutes later, he would land at the Walter Reed Medical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland. 

Steve Tabor had stopped outside the White House to watch events unfold.

Onlookers at the White House yesterday as Marine One took off with Donald Trump on board

"It is painful for me as a Trump supporter," he said.

"I know there is a lot of division in our country but this is heartbreaking for everyone. I hope, at this point. If we don't unite over this situation there will be no unity in this country ever again," Steve said.

Stan and Patty Orlaski looked on as the US president was flown off to hospital.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the president - that he will get well quickly and get back to the campaign," Stan said.

"I was surprised he got the virus but I think he'll pull through pretty well, he seems like a vigorous guy," he added.

"It was a monumental moment and we just wish the best for him and his family," Patty said.