Twitter users had strong opinions about President Donald Trump accusing governors of being “weak” in their response to protests over racism and police treatment of Black communities that, while largely peaceful, were marred by instances of violence and looting.
During a Monday morning video conference call with the state leaders following a weekend of turmoil, Trump said most of the governors were “weak.” And he said, “You have to arrest people.”
HuffPost obtained an audio of the call.
“You have to dominate, if you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time. They’re going to run over you, you’re going to look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate.”
This tweet contains part of his comments:
Here’s the audio of that remarkable call where Trump lashes out at governors and says they need to crack down on protesters. pic.twitter.com/ANSsniYItN
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) June 1, 2020
Many Twitter users expressed doubt his message was the right one ― or that Trump is the right messenger at a very volatile time in U.S. history.
Trump in a call with governors says “most of you are weak” and demands a tougher response. That’s sort of like an arsonist blaming the fire department.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) June 1, 2020
Some found the president’s tough talk ironic, considering he spent a brief part of Friday night an underground bunker at the White House as an angry protest occurred in front of the executive mansion. Nor did he emerge publicly during the weekend to attempt to quell the rage sparked by the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a Black man pinned to the ground by a white Minneapolis police officer for nearly nine minutes.
Trump just said “most of you are weak,” to Governors on a call. This coming from a coward hiding in his bunker.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) June 1, 2020
obama cried for the children of sandy hook. trump hid in a bunker.
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) June 1, 2020
Question for @realDonaldTrump: If the governors look “weak” as you claim, how do you look hiding in the bunker with the lights off?https://t.co/PSKb0QQRGd
— Brian J. Karem (@BrianKarem) June 1, 2020
Some people sensed deja vu all over again, albeit in different ways.
Apropos Trump’s call with governors earlier today… https://t.co/c79tCZtkeA
— Angelo Carusone (@GoAngelo) June 1, 2020
“You looked weak. You have to dominate” #POTUS on his call to governors sounds a lot like the voice of Fred Trump in his head.
— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) June 1, 2020
One suspected the attacks on his fellow politicians was part of a strategic “blame game.”
Two minutes of Trump blaming everyone else and taking zero responsibility. His ongoing political ‘strategy’ is to sound tough (“dominate”) while trying to blame governors and mayors for these epic national crises—the pandemic, civil unrest, etc. Bunker Politics, you might call it
— Mark Follman (@markfollman) June 1, 2020
But others wouldn’t give the president that much credit.
I don’t see any 12-dimensional chess here. If Trump thought he had political advantage for governors refusing to call in Guard, he wouldn’t be yelling at them to do it on a private call. So he’s either incompetently unaware of his authority, or knows he’s made himself impotent.
— tedfrank 😷 (@tedfrank) June 1, 2020
Others expressed much graver concerns.
The audio of Trump on the governors’ call urging them to violently crush protests has truly spelled out how much trouble America is now in. Deep, deep, deep trouble.
— Paul Harris (@paulxharris) June 1, 2020
One person suspected that Trump’s good buddy, Russian President Vladimir Putin, influenced the fiery rhetoric.
Trump spoke to Putin today. Then he got on a call and told governors to get tougher and dominate the streets. Probably just a coincidence.
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) June 1, 2020
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