U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday urged state governors to crack down on protests over racial inequality that have engulfed the nation's major cities, as officials extended curfews in hopes of preventing a seventh night of looting and vandalism.
From inside a White House a stone's throw from the broken glass and debris after another night of violent protests, President Donald Trump berated the country's governors over the phone on Monday, telling state leaders their response to demonstrations over the death of George Floyd made them look weak and urged them to crack down on the violence and looting that has engulfed America's cities and send in the National Guard.
Reuters has obtained the audio of the call from a government source.
"We have all the men and women that you need.
But people aren't calling them up.
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.
And you have to arrest people and you have to try people, and they have to go to jail for long periods of time.
I saw what happened in Philadelphia.
I saw what happened in Dallas, where they kicked a guy to death.
I don't know if he died or not, but if he didn't it's a miracle... "And those kids, they're all on camera.
They're wise guys.
And it's coming from the radical left.
You know it.
Everybody knows it.
But it's also looters and it's people that figure they can get free stuff by running into stores and running out with television sets.
I saw it... "And the only time it's successful is when you're weak.
And most of you are weak." At the end of the call, Democratic Governor J.B.
Pritzker of Illinois told Trump that his rhetoric was making a volatile situation worse.
"I've been extraordinarily concerned by the rhetoric that's been used by you.
It's been inflammatory and it's not okay for that officer to choke George Floyd to death but we have to call for calm.
We have to have police reform called for.
We call out our National Guard and our state police, but the rhetoric that's coming out of the White House is making it worse." Trump responded.
"Okay, well, thank you very much, J.B.
I don't like your rhetoric much either because I watched it with respect to the coronavirus.
And I don't like your rhetoric much either.
I think you could've done a much better job, frankly." Representatives for the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the call, after violent protests overnight overshadowed peaceful demonstrations during the day.
Dozens of cities across the country remain under curfews after buildings and police vehicles burned, and looters ransacked stores and shopping districts.
"When you have somebody in power who breathes oxygen to the hate under the rocks, it comes out from under the rocks." Meanwhile, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden promised black community leaders in a Delaware church on Monday that he'd create a police oversight board within his first 100 days in the White House.
And former President Barack Obama condemned the violence and looting at protests in an essay on Medium, calling for political solutions to diffuse the tension.