Quotables

Trump is reportedly telling advisers Democratic governors are letting their cities 'burn' to 'hurt him'

June 3, 2020
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump is publicly pleased with his military deployment in Washington, D.C., but when it comes to addressing the larger wave of peaceful protests and less-peaceful looting and violence across America, "he's paralyzed," a former West Wing official tells Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman. The president's anger is real, a Trump friend told Sherman. "Trump is pissed that they're rioting. That's just the old guy from Queens who's offended by this. That's the Archie Bunker in him." But he is also apparently taking the unrest over systemic racism personally.

Trump told governors in a phone call Monday to use the military to "dominate" the streets — Defense Secretary Mark Esper called American cities "battlespaces" — and he has repeated that tough-guy language in public and on Twitter. He is evidently focused on Democratic governors. "He feels the blue-state governors are letting it burn because it hurts him," an outside White House adviser told Sherman on Monday. "It's a lot like how he sees coronavirus." As with Trump's coronavirus response, it's unclear why he would think governors care more about him than their own constituents.

Trump is privately telling people the street violence would end of the three Minneapolis police officers who watched their colleague kill George Floyd were also arrested, Sherman reports, "but, always worried about seeming weak, he made no mention of the officers or police brutality during yesterday's Rose Garden speech." Read more at Vanity Fair. Peter Weber