Trump tells governors they have been 'weak' and must not let violence continue, on crisis call

"If you want this to stop, you have to prosecute people," said POTUS

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump
(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)
Last Updated:
June 1, 2020 - 3:19pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook


President Trump on Monday told a group of governors via video conference from the Situation Room that they must "arrest and try people" who are actively destroying their cities with riots and looting, lest they "look like a bunch of jerks."

Trump continued by saying that the reason riots are successful is because the governors "are weak." 

"Most of you are weak. You have to arrest people," he purportedly also said. "You have to use your legal system. If you want this to stop, you have to prosecute people."

Over the weekend, there were riots, protests and other demonstrations in at least 145 American cities; 4,100 arrests were made. 

This conversation, which included Attorney General William Barr and various law enforcement officials, in addition to the president and state leaders, comes as protests head into their sixth day. 

Barr was at the White House for an Oval Office meeting prior to the call. Over the weekend, Trump announced that the United States would be moving to designate the militant anarchist group Antifa a domestic terror organization.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a 7 p.m. curfew that will go into effect for the next two nights. 

"We recognize that people are frustrated and mad but tearing up out beautiful city is not the way to bring attention to what is a righteous cause," Bowser said to NBC's "Today" show.

Last night, a fire erupted at St. John's Episcopal Church, which is just a few blocks away from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and a house of worship that every president since James Madison has visited at least once.

Top White House aides are reportedly debating whether the president should formally address the nation about the escalating unrest that continues to unfold. 

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