June 1, 2020

President Trump called U.S. governors "weak" during a Monday phone call about nationwide protests, The Associated Press reports, and his rhetoric reportedly alarmed several people on the call, with one person describing his comments as "unhinged." The call seems to indicate the president may be siding with the faction of his advisers who want him to take a "hard line" on the unrest.

The demonstrations against police brutality have taken place in several major cities over the last few days, and while most have remained peaceful, police and protesters have clashed violently on several occasions. Governors and mayors have expressed concern about the damage being done to their cities, and Trump is reportedly telling them that if they want to regain control they'll need to bring in the National Guard, arrest people, and "put them in jail for 10 years." Trump said they should take note from Washington, D.C., law enforcement which will "do something that people haven't seen before."

If the governors follow through, he said, "you'll never see this stuff again." Attorney General William Barr was also on the call, and similarly urged governors to "dominate" the streets and "go after troublemakers."

Despite Trump's projection of strength, he's mostly remained inside — including spending an hour in a bunker — tweeting since the protests began. Tim O'Donnell

See More Speed Reads