President Trump lashed out to nation’s governors in a phone call Monday, calling many of them “weak” over how they are responding to protests and riots that have erupted across the country following the death of George Floyd, and urged the state leaders to “dominate.”
“Most of you are weak,” Trump said, according to a source familiar with the video teleconference call. “You have to arrest people. You have to dominate if you don’t dominate you’re wasting your time. They’re going to run over you, you’re going to look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate.”
The president is also reported to have told the state leaders, along with law enforcement and national security officials on the call to get “much tougher” on protestors while questioning their leadership and decisions of standing down they have made over the weekend. Trump singled out cities of New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles as “weak.”
“You have to know what you’re dealing with,” the president said. “And it’s happened before, this happened numerous times and the only time it’s successful is when you’re weak and most of you are weak.”
“I will say this, what’s going on in Los Angeles — I have a friend lives in Los Angeles and they say all the storefronts are gone,” Trump continued. “They’re all broken and gone. The merchandise is gone. It’s a shame. It didn’t look as bad to me — maybe it was the sunshine, I don’t know. But in Los Angeles, the storefronts are gone. Philadelphia’s a mess. What happened there is horrible.”
Attorney General Bill Barr, who was also on the call, told governors a joint terrorist task force would to track the agitators. He told local officials to “dominate” the streets and to “go after troublemakers.”
The president has called for “law and order” and urged governors to activate the National Guard and crackdown more strongly on protesters. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that so far just two states had called up more than 1,000 Guard troops.
“Why you’re not calling them up I don’t know — but you making a mistake and making yourselves look like fools,” he said. “Washington was under very good control, but we’re going to have it under much more control. We’re going to pull in thousands of people. We’re going to clamp down very, very strong.”
“These are terrorists,” Trump said of the protesters. “These are terrorists, they’re looking to do bad things to our country. They’re Antifa and they’re radical left.”
In D.C., protestors across the street from the White House have escalated the past three nights, with the president reportedly taken to a secure bunker Friday night as tensions rose. Demonstrators have destroyed businesses around the White House, breaking windows and looting, while also vandalizing monuments.
“You’ve got to arrest people, you have to track people, you have to put them in jail for 10 years and you’ll never see this stuff again,” Trump said. “We’re doing it in Washington, D.C. We’re going to do something that people haven’t seen before.”
Trump repeatedly called on governors on Twitter to “get tough” over the weekend.
“Get tough Democrat Mayors and Governors. These people are ANARCHISTS. Call in our National Guard NOW. The World is watching and laughing at you and Sleepy Joe. Is this what America wants? NO!!!”
Get tough Democrat Mayors and Governors. These people are ANARCHISTS. Call in our National Guard NOW. The World is watching and laughing at you and Sleepy Joe. Is this what America wants? NO!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2020
As of Monday morning, at least 4,400 people have been taken into custody nationwide in relation to the unrest following five straight days of protests since video emerged showing former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin holding his knee to George Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.