Trump warns governors: "If you don't dominate you're wasting your time"
In a call with the nation's governors, Pres. Donald Trump told state leaders they must "dominate" protests taking place over the death of George Floyd, calling on law enforcement to get "much tougher.
Donald Trump has claimed in a series of tweets he has done more for black Americans than any other US President.
Protests over the killing of George Floyd continued overnight but were largely peaceful, with the nation’s streets calmer than they have been in days.
Mr Trump claimed he had done “much more” for African-American communities in his three-and-a-half years as President than his likely Democratic political opponent, Joe Biden, had done in 43 years.
“I’ve done more for Black Americans, in fact, than any President in US history, with the possible exception of another Republican President, the late, great, Abraham Lincoln … and it’s not even close.”
....the possible exception of another Republican President, the late, great, Abraham Lincoln...and it’s not even close. The Democrats know this, and so does the Fake News, but they refuse to write or say it because they are inherently corrupt! See “pinned” above.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2020
Mr Trump noted a tweet he posted on Tuesday, in which he pointed to a number of his administration’s policies, including “guaranteed funding” for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), passing criminal justice reform and noting America’s lowest “black unemployment, poverty, and crime rates in history”.
A fact check last year by AP though said Mr Trump was “exaggerating his role in bringing economic gains to black Americans”.
Former special assistant to president George W. Bush, Ron Christie, told the BBC overnight he was stunned by what he read.
“I think its a remarkable statement, that he has singlehandledly done more is a shocking statement, to put it politely, and a rather irritating statement to be more specific,” he said.
“Americans we have always had struggles with racial equality in our country. For one man in one sweeping tweet to say that...I find quite shocking. As a Republican, I find that to be revolting.”
Mr Christie is an African American who wrote the book, Black in the White House, detailing his life in the West Wing as a black conservative.
Mr Trump has been criticised for his handling of both the coronavirus crisis and the protests against police brutality, with the President threatening to deploy active-duty US military if states failed to control the demonstrations.
He has pushed the nation’s governors to take a hard line against the violence, tweeting on Tuesday that “lowlifes and losers” were taking over New York’s streets.
Mr Biden, who was vice president under Barack Obama, said in his first speech since March this week: “Look, the presidency is a big job. Nobody will get everything right. And I won’t either. But I promise you this. I won’t traffic in fear and division.”
Earlier curfews and efforts by protesters to contain the lawlessness prevented more widespread damage to businesses in New York and other cities overnight.
Yet another reason I was so honored and privileged to serve in this Administration. Leadership. Empathy. Compassion. https://t.co/6De6qHPHGQ— Ron Christie (@Ron_Christie) June 2, 2020
Arrests have grown to more than 9000 nationwide since protests erupted around the US in reaction to Mr Floyd’s death May 25 in Minneapolis.
At least 12 deaths have been reported, though the circumstances in many cases are still being investigated.
In Washington, where authorities ordered people off streets before sundown, thousands of demonstrators massed a block from the White House, following a crackdown a day earlier when officers drove peaceful protesters away to clear the way for Mr Trump to do a photo opp with a Bible at a church.
A black chain-link fence was put up to block access to the park.
Thousands of people remained out in New York City, undeterred by an 8pm curfew, though most streets were clear by early Wednesday. Battered storefronts from the earlier rounds of violence could be seen in mid-town Manhattan.
Protesters also marched in Los Angeles; Miami; St. Paul, Minnesota; Columbia, South Carolina; and Houston, where the police chief talked to peaceful demonstrators, vowing reforms.