President Donald Trump has continued his harsh rhetoric and actions after weeks worth of nationwide protests while discussing a possible executive order on how to handle them. Speaking Thursday at a police reform at a roundtable event in Dallas, Texas, the president once again spoke out about the use of force against the overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrators, according to Rolling Stone.
"If [authorities] are really gonna have to do a job, if somebody is really bad, you're gonna have to do with it real strength, with real power," Trump said at the event. He went on to talk about his call with governors earlier in June, where he criticized them for being "weak" in their response to the protests that had turned into riots. "I said, we're gonna have to dominate the streets. And I was criticized for that statement. And they said, 'That's such a terrible thing.'" In closing, he claimed that compassion was the real motivation behind the decision.
"We're doing it with compassion if you think about it," Trump said. "We're dominating the streets with compassion because we're saving lives." As the outlet noted, no specifics were given about the number of lives allegedly saved.
The protests began following the arrest, and subsequent death, of 46-year-old George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25. While all four responding officers were fired the next day, the protests erupted shortly thereafter. Initially calling for the officers' arrests, which has since happened, the protests evolved into a rallying cry to fundamentally reform police departments and end brutality that disproportionately affects minorities.
As the protests have continued into their second week, there have also been numerous incidents captured on video of officers acting with undue force. One such notable case involves police in Buffalo, New York, who pushed a 75-year-old Martin Gugino onto the pavement, contradicting the department's initial report on the matter. The two officers involved have since been arrested and were greeted with a round of applause from their fellow officers after being formally charged with second-degree assault.
In the wake of the incident, Trump himself has postulated on Twitter on Tuesday that he was "an Antifa provocateur" who "was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out [sic] the equipment." The president was citing a report from the dubious media outlet One American News Network, all of which naturally sparked a firestorm of controversy.