The President tweeted on Saturday that if protesters breached the White House’s fence, they would “have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.” And he called on Democratic officials to “get MUCH tougher” or the federal government “will step in and do what has to be done, and that includes using the unlimited power of our Military and many arrests.”
As of Sunday morning, approximately 5,000 Guard Soldiers and Airmen were activated in response to civil disturbances in 15 states and the District of Columbia, with another 2,000 prepared to activate if needed, according to a statement from the National Guard Bureau of Public Affairs.
Elected officials on both sides of the aisle said on Sunday that the President should instead focus on unifying the nation or decline to address the country at all.
“It’s sort of continuing to escalate the rhetoric,” added Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on CNN. “I think it’s just the opposite of the message that should have been coming out of the White House.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, also urged Trump to help “calm the nation” and to stop sending “divisive tweets” in an interview Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Her comments followed a press conference Saturday where Bowser noted how Trump’s reference to the “vicious dogs” was “no subtle reminder” of segregationists who would attack African Americans with dogs.
On Fox News Sunday, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott said that some of Trump’s tweets were “not constructive.” Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, said he talked with the President on Saturday and told him that it’s beneficial for him to “focus” on the death of Floyd and to “recognize the benefit of nonviolent protests.”
The Trump administration’s response
“The death of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis was a grave tragedy. It should never have happened,” the President said. “It has filled Americans all over the country with horror, anger and grief.”
But the Trump administration’s response has not satisfied its critics — or even members of Floyd’s family.
“He didn’t give me an opportunity to even speak,” Floyd said. “It was hard. I was trying to talk to him, but he just kept, like, pushing me off, like ‘I don’t want to hear what you’re talking about.’
“And I just told him, I want justice. I said that I couldn’t believe that they committed a modern-day lynching in broad daylight,” he said.
The President said he had spoken to Floyd’s family on Friday, the same day he tweeted that “THUGS” are “dishonoring” his memory. “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he tweeted.
“Every time I respond to Donald Trump, I do it from a place where I realize he doesn’t deserve a response, he doesn’t deserve my attention or my emotion. Our people do,” Booker said on CNN. “Donald Trump no longer has the capacity to break my heart, to surprise me.”