“You’re making yourself look like fools,” Trump told state governors on a conference call Monday morning about their reluctance to call in the National Guard. He said Minnesota, the epicenter of the protests, had become “a laughingstock all over the world.”
"You have to dominate, if you don’t dominate you’re wasting your time,” Trump said. “They’re going to run over you, you’re going to look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate."
“Someone throwing a rock is like shooting a gun,” Trump told them. “You have to do retribution … 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."
Dozens of US cities and towns have been rocked by a week of protests against anti-black police violence after 46-year-old George Floyd, a black man from Minneapolis, was killed in police custody after several officers held him down, including one whose knee sat on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes as he said “I can’t breathe.” After harsh police repression, the riots have steadily grown in size and scope, including the looting and destruction of many shops and offices, but especially of police cars and stations.
More than 4,400 protesters have been arrested so far, but only one of the four officers connected to Floyd’s death is in police custody: former Minneapolis Police Department Officer Derek Chauvin, whose knee was on Floyd’s neck.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz told reporters after the call that he “shared with the president that a posture of a force on the ground is both unsustainable militarily, it’s also unsustainable socially, because it’s the antithesis of how we live.”
Earlier on Monday, Trump concurred with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) on Twitter, who has called for the mobilization of US Army units to take “no quarter” and denounced the protesters as “insurrectionists” and “terrorists.”