(The Center Square) - President Donald Trump told governors Monday they need to act aggressively against violent protestors who took to American streets in dozens of U.S. cities over the weekend breaking windows, burning buildings, overturning police cars and other acts.
"You have to dominate or you'll look like a bunch of jerks, you have to arrest and try people," Trump said in the video conference call, according to audio of the call obtained by CNN.
Rioting occurred in Chicago, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and elsewhere in protests over the killing last week of George Floyd, a black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer.
Governors in California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin, Colorado and elsewhere activated National Guard troops to help local and state police with responses to the violent protests.
"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," Trump told governors. "We're doing it in Washington, D.C. We're going to do something that people haven't seen before."
The call didn't go well with some governors.
"Instead of offering support or leadership to bring down the temperature at protests, President Trump told governors to 'put it down' or we would be 'overridden,'" Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. "He said governors should 'dominate' protesters, 'or you'll look like a bunch of jerks.' 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."