Trump said he was willing to use the military if state leaders don’t get “tougher” on anti-police brutality protests.
The unrest began after George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis and has since spread across the US.
Trump said on Saturday that the federal government was considering using the military to intervene in protests over the killing of George Floyd while in police custody.
“We have our military ready, willing and able,” Trump told reporters before departing for Florida. “We can have our military there very quickly.”
On Twitter, Trump wrote the federal government will use “the unlimited power of our military” as well as carry out arrests.
Crossing State lines to incite violence is a FEDERAL CRIME! Liberal Governors and Mayors must get MUCH tougher or the Federal Government will step in and do what has to be done, and that includes using the unlimited power of our Military and many arrests. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2020
The Pentagon said it was ready to provide military help to contain unrest in Minneapolis, the city where Floyd was killed. So far, the governor of Minnesota has not requested it.
If he did so, the federal forces would likely primarily comprise of military police to provide logistical support but would not get directly involved, defence officials told the Associated Press.
National Guard called up
Dozens of cities across the US, including Atlanta and Washington, DC, braced for further protests on Saturday, after some of the anti-police brutality and anti-racism demonstrations turned violent.
At a protest in Tallahassee, Florida, a suspect drove a pickup truck through a crowd of protesters gathered at an intersection, hitting some of them. The driver was later arrested and no one was seriously injured, local officials said.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz moved to fully mobilize the state’s National Guard on Saturday, vowing a show of force to shut down unrest that has seen vehicles and buildings destroyed.
“The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd,” Walz said. “It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities.”
Trump’s remarks sparked further outrage after he threatened that if protesters breached the White House grounds, they “would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs and most ominous weapons I have ever seen.”