President Donald Trump promised the nation's governors Monday that he will "activate" Bill Barr in response to the protests nationwide over the police killing of George Floyd over the past week. The President berated the governors and said police are "allowed to fight back."
@CBSNews On the call, Trump references Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Milley and Attorney General Bill Barr. "We wi… https://t.co/xOfVWVKxCm— Ed O'Keefe (@Ed O'Keefe) 1591026028.0
One listener on the video conference call said the President sounded "unhinged." Reports from multiple outlets say Trump told governors they risk looking "weak" if they do not "dominate" the protestors – a word he used repeatedly – and called on state officials to "track" them.
"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," CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe reports Trump told the governors.
"When they have bricks — you know they come armed with bricks," Trump said on the call, according to CBS News. "And they have bricks and rocks, big rocks, and they have other big things, and they throw them. You know, you're allowed to fight back, folks. You don't have to have a brick hit you in the face, and you don't do anything about it. You are allowed to fight back."
"You’re making a mistake because you're making yourselves look like fools. And some have done a great job. But a lot of you, it’s not – it’s not a great day for our country," Trump reportedly also said.
"You know when other countries watch this, they’re watching this, the next day wow, they’re really a push over. And we can’t be a push over. And we have all the resources – it’s not like we don’t have the resources. So, I don’t know what you’re doing," he added.
The president said that the violence "is coming from the radical left — you know, it everybody knows it — but it's also looters, and it's people that figure they can get free stuff by running into stores and running out with television sets. I saw it — a kid has a lot of stuff, he puts it in the back of a brand new car and drives off. You have every one of these guys on tape. Why aren't you prosecuting them? Now, the harder you are, the tougher you are, the less likely you're going to be hit."
Trump also promised the governors, "We're going to clamp down very, very strong," apparently about the Washington, D.C. area.
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti responded, calling it "telling that Trump views Barr as a tool that he can 'activate' and use."
"Barr is supposed to be our attorney, representing the United States, not pushing Trump’s political agenda," he added.