'Most of you are weak': Trump rails at the nation's governors, urges crackdown on violence
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump went on an extended rant against the nation's governors Monday, calling them "weak" for failing to quell the violence in the nation's cities.
“Most of you are weak,” Trump told governors on a conference call. "You have to arrest people."
Using blunt language, Trump said that "radicals" and "anarchists" are behind the unrest, and he urged governors to crack down on them.
"You have to dominate," he said, according to audio of the meeting obtained by CBS News. "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."
Attorney General Bill Barr, who was also on the Monday call, told governors they have to “dominate” the streets and control, not react to crowds, and urged them to “go after troublemakers.”
Trump's remarks to the governors followed a sixth day of clashes Sunday between police and protesters in cities across the nation that erupted in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man, in Minneapolis.
More than 4,400 arrests have been made at demonstrations nationwide since video emerged showing former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin holding his knee to Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes. Floyd can be heard saying "I can't breathe."
Trump told the governors that he is beefing up police presence in Washington.
"Washington was under very good control, but we're going to have it under much more control," Trump said. "We're going to pull in thousands of people. ... We're going to clamp down very, very strong."
He added: “You have to arrest people. You have to try people. You have to put them in jail for 10 years, and you’ll never see this stuff again. And you have to let them know that.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden, in a call with four big-city mayors Monday afternoon, sounded a different note when addressing the past days of unrest.
Biden spoke out against the violence and “needless destruction” of property, saying it’s “no way forward” and will drive people away from a just cause. But he also said there’s justifiable public outrage.
“It’s got to be incredibly difficult finding the balance between keeping people safe, protecting public space while acknowledging the incredible plain and legitimate anger that is the root of these protests,” Biden said during a video chat with the Democratic mayors of Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and St. Paul, Minnesota.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti accused the Trump administration of pushing the nation back to “20th century policing” and said mayors are having to figure things out for themselves because of a lack of national leadership.
“We need some morality. We need some leadership,” Garcetti said. “I would love for this president to speak to this nation to say 'Maybe it was wrong when I said that, our law enforcement officers, a few years ago, shouldn’t worry about people’s heads when they’re putting them into police cars.’”