The president tweeted Saturday that if protesters violated the White House fence, “they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs and the most sinister weapons I have ever seen.” And he called on Democratic officials to “get MUCH tougher” or the federal government “will step in and do what needs to be done, and that includes using the unlimited power of our military and lots of arrests.”
Elected officials on both sides of the aisle said Sunday that the president should focus on unifying the nation or refusing to address the country.
“It continues to intensify the rhetoric,” added Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan on CNN. “I think it’s the complete opposite of the message that should have come out of the White House.”
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, also urged Trump to help “calm the nation” and stop sending “divisive tweets” in an interview Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
His comments followed a press conference on Saturday in which Bowser noted that Trump’s reference to “vicious dogs” was not “a subtle reminder” of segregationists who would attack African Americans with dogs.
On Fox News Sunday, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott said some of Trump’s tweets “were not constructive.” Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, said he spoke to the President on Saturday and said it is beneficial for him to “focus” on Floyd’s death and “recognize the benefit of nonviolent protests.”
The Trump administration’s response
“George Floyd’s death on the streets of Minneapolis was a serious tragedy. It should never have happened,” said the president. “It has filled Americans across the country with horror, anger, and pain.”
But the Trump administration’s response has not satisfied its critics, not even members of the Floyd family.
“It didn’t give me a chance to speak,” Floyd said. “It was difficult. I was trying to talk to him, but he just rejected me, like ‘I don’t want to hear what you’re talking about.’
“And I just told him that I want justice. I told him that I couldn’t believe that they committed a modern lynching in broad daylight,” he said.
The president said he had spoken to Floyd’s family on Friday, the same day he tweeted that “HITS” are “disgracing” his memory. “Any difficulties and we will take over but when the looting begins, the shooting begins,” he tweeted.
“Every time I respond to Donald Trump, I do so from a place where I realize he doesn’t deserve an answer, he doesn’t deserve my attention or my emotion. Our people do,” Booker said on CNN. “Donald Trump no longer has the ability to break my heart, to surprise me.”