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article imageOp-Ed: Trump tells governors to 'dominate' and 'take back your streets'

By Karen Graham     Jun 1, 2020 in Politics
In a video teleconference on Monday, President Donald Trump - agitated and angry after several nights of violent protests - told governors to “dominate” and “take back your streets.”
"You have to dominate or you'll look like a bunch of jerks, you have to arrest and try people," the President told the governors in a call from the basement White House Situation Room, according to an audio recording of the call obtained by CNN.
Saying the situation is ruining the nation's standing on the world stage, Trump also warned that law enforcement's presence across Washington is set to intensify later Monday.
"Washington was under very good control, but we're going to have it under much more control," Mr. Trump said, according to audio of the meeting obtained by CBS News. "We're going to pull in thousands of people." He added later: "We're going to clamp down very, very strong."
Trump called the governors "weak" for allowing violence to take hold, seeming to suggest it was their responsibility, not his, to tamp down harshly on the continued unrest. He emphasized his belief the violence is being fomented by forces from the "radical left."
The president held the call with state leaders as protests persisted nationwide in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for roughly eight minutes, reports The Hill.
The officer who pinned Floyd to the ground with his knee was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter last week.
Attorney General William Barr said he wanted protesters charged with federal crimes. “Federal law enforcement actions will be directed at apprehending and charging the violent radical agitators who have hijacked peaceful protest and are engaged in violations of federal law,” Barr said in a statement Sunday.
Barr joined the president on the conference call, saying he plans to "activate very strongly" – General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper. "We can't play whack-a-mole," Barr told the governors – before the president interjected.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker told Trump the nation was craving a steady hand from the top. "Rhetoric coming out of the White House is making it worse, people are experiencing real pain," Pritzker, a Democrat, told the President. "We've got to have national leadership calling for calm and legitimate concern for protestors."
"I don't like your rhetoric that much either," Trump fired back. "You could have done much better on coronavirus." Trump said states had to start arresting people and “you have to put them in jail for 10 years and you’ll never see this stuff again."
Trump’s confrontational tone with governors is likely to spur fresh criticism of his handling of the demonstrations, which have in many cases escalated into looting and vandalism. Police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets into crowds, and video showed New York City police driving their cars into crowds of protesters on Saturday.
If there is any question over Trump's wanting to use force to stop the rioting, today's conference call should clear any doubt in people's minds. And Trump's habit of venting via Twitter has done nothing but escalate the protests.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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