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1 Jun, 2020 17:00

Trump tells governors to ‘DOMINATE’ rioters in scathing phone call

Trump tells governors to ‘DOMINATE’ rioters in scathing phone call

President Donald Trump has called on governors to step up their actions against rioters, urging them to use more force and “dominate” the violent mobs besieging America’s cities.

Hordes of rioters and arsonists surrounded the White House on Sunday night, setting fire to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church nearby and desecrating national landmarks. Similar scenes were on display in dozens of major American cities, and the president was, for most of the night, silent.

Now, Trump has reportedly demanded that governors use a heavier hand in quashing the unrest. “You have to dominate, if you don’t dominate you’re wasting your time,” he said in a phone call with the governors on Monday, leaked by the press in the afternoon. 

They’re going to run over you, you’re going to look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate.

“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,” he added. “We have all the resources – it’s not like we don’t have the resources. So, I don’t know what you’re doing.”

Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Monday, nationwide protests quickly degenerated into full-scale riots. Trump has touted the deployment of the National Guard to Minneapolis – at his insistence – as instrumental in containing the unrest in the city, and demanded that the nation’s other governors follow suit.

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It is the responsibility of each individual state to request the deployment of the Guard, and should a governor opt not to do so, the president is unable to order federal troops onto the streets, thanks to the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act. As a last-ditch measure, Trump could invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act to send out the military, as George H.W. Bush did during the Los Angeles riots of 1992.

Speaking to the governors, Trump deplored the looting taking place across the country, calling the rioters "people who figure they can get free stuff by running into stores and running out with television sets." Trump also decried a video that emerged from Dallas, Texas, on Sunday, which showed a mob beating a man half to death for trying to defend a store from looting.

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...I've never seen anything like it in my life.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) has suggested that Trump should do just that. “What the president can do… [is say that] the rioting, the anarchy, and the looting ends tonight,” Cotton told Fox News on Monday. “If local law enforcement is overwhelmed, if local politicians will not do their most basic job to protect our citizens, let’s see how these anarchists respond when the 101st Airborne is on the other side of the street.”

Short of turning the federal military against rioters, Trump has taken aim at left-wing Antifa militants, whom his administration accused of orchestrating and directing the worst of the mayhem. Trump on Sunday said he would designate the loose-knit group a “terrorist organization,” while Attorney General William Barr has announced that the FBI will deploy its Joint Terrorism Task Forces against Antifa.

While many on the right have pleaded with Trump to crush the riots with military force, some have urged caution, warning that the president risks a public backlash should he do so. “The Left’s goal is to pressure Trump to authorize the national guard to fire on the rioters—thereby proving he’s a murderous tyrant,” tweeted Candace Owens, a prominent Trump-supporting pundit. “They don’t care how many Black neighborhoods must burn in the process.”

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