Donald Trump had a heated exchange with governors, amid the widespread protests of George Floyd's death, wherein he called any governor "weak" if they didn't use force to control the protesters, and now audio of the president's comments have surfaced. The Washington Post shared the audio, which features Trump telling the state leaders, "You have to dominate, if you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time." He also stated, "They’re going to run over you. You’re going to look like a bunch of jerks."
Trump's call with the governors came after a night of mass protesting across the United States, and especially in Washington D.C., where protesters took to the streets and surrounded the White House. The Trump administration responded by shutting out all the lights on the national landmark, and moved the Commander-in-Chief to an underground bunker for safety. Trump has been facing criticism over his response to the protests, as well as for his comments on the governor call, with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer saying, "The president repeatedly and viciously attacked governors, who are doing everything they can to keep the peace while fighting a once-in-a-generation global pandemic," per The Washington Post.
"You have to dominate": President Trump told governors on a call Monday that they are "weak" on protesters, and pushed them to arrest more people and "put them in jail for 10 years." These are excerpts from audio obtained by CBS News. https://t.co/r8pkyRYu1F pic.twitter.com/p4qThKAWeB— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 1, 2020
Whitmer went on to say, "The president’s dangerous comments should be gravely concerning to all Americans, because they send a clear signal that this administration is determined to sow the seeds of hatred and division, which I fear will only lead to more violence and destruction. We must reject this way of thinking." While his tone was said to be very intense, Trump had kind words for Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, praising Waltz for his decision to bring in the National Guard to help keep rioters under control.
In response, someone on the call commented that the military use in Minnesota looked like an occupying force. Trump replied, "People wouldn’t have minded an occupying force." He then called that the first phase of Minneapolis' response to the riots "weak and pathetic." Trump expressed that he saw The National Guard phase as "domination," and added, "It couldn’t be any better. It was a beautiful thing to watch."