President Trump has lashed out at US governors calling them “weak” and saying they will look like a “bunch of jerks” if they don’t start arresting people.
On a video conference with national security officials and top police Trump said “most of you are weak” according to leaked reports of the conversation.
“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 said.
“We’re doing it in Washington, D.C. We’re going to do something that people haven’t seen before.”
Trump said the governors were making themselves “look like fools” for not putting more National Guard on the streets.
He urged leaders of New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles to crack down on protesters and suggested reviewing criminal penalties for burning the American flag.
The comments come as the US wakes in the aftermath of violent protests across the nation on Sunday night following the death of George Floyd.
Protests outside the White House led to President Trump being taken to a bunker on Friday and sparked one of the highest alerts since September 11 2001.
Earlier on Monday, Trump pointed the finger at “anarchists” and “ANTIFA Organisation” after a sixth night of violent protests rattled the country from the White House to Wisconsin.
The US leader took to his favourite medium, Twitter, to say criticise Democratic opponent Joe Biden while tweeting the date of the upcoming election, November 3 in a bid to galvanise his supporters.
“Sleep (sic) Joe Biden’s people are so Radical Left that they are working to get the Anarchists out of jail, and probably more,” Trump tweeted.
“Joe doesn’t know anything about it, he is clueless, but they will be the real power, not Joe. They will be calling the shots! Big tax increases for all, Plus!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 1, 2020
The President also quoted Fox and Friends in saying: “These were the people that trashed Seattle years ago. Who’s paying for these people. I was appalled that 13 of Joe Biden’s staff were donating money to bail people out in Minneapolis. They should have stayed in jail until this is over (and beyond).”
“I don’t see any indication that there were any white supremest (sic) groups mixing in. This is an ANTIFA Organisation. It seems that the first time we saw it in a major way was Occupy Wall Street. It’s the same mindset.” TRUE!” he tweeted.
Antifa is short for anti-fascist action and is a loose network of groups opposed to fascism, white supremacy and racism and favours direct action over policy change.
It is anti-government and anti-capitalist and is aligned more with anarchists then the mainstream political left-wing.
President Trump has previously accused the group of starting riots at protests over the death of George Floyd, 46.
On Monday, the US woke to a day of carnage after large protests in major cities turned violent with shops looted in downtown Manhattan and the White House turned dark amid protests.
President Trump was rushed to an underground bunker in the White House on Friday as protesters gathered outside the building throwing rocks and rocking barricades.
A Republican source told AP Trump and his family have been surprised by the vigour of protests and he has reportedly told advisers he feared for his family’s safety.
Photos also emerged of protesters burning the US flag close to the White House. Police fired tear gas and stun grenades into a crowd of more than 1,000 chanting protesters in Lafayette Square, a park across the street from the White House.
The crowd ran away and piled up road signs and plastic barriers to light a raging fire in a nearby street. Some pulled an American flag from a building and threw it into the blaze.
As demonstrations continued past an 11pm curfew, Washington police said they were responding to multiple fires that were “intentionally set” around the city.
Floyd, died after being pinned down by white police officer Derek Chauvin who knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd told him “I can’t breathe”.
The mantra has been adopted by protesters who have chanted the line at rallies across US cities from Los Angeles to New York, and spread to Europe and New Zealand.
Originally published as ‘Weak’: Trump orders show of force