WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 11: US President Donald Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office about the widening COVID-19 crisis. Trump said the US will suspend all travel from Europe – except the UK – for the next 30 days. Since December 2019, COVID-19 has infected more than 109,000 people and killed more than 3,800 people in 105 countries. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump held a phone call with governors from around the country Monday. Attorney General Bill Barr and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark A. Milley, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper joined in the call.
Trump began by castigating governors for not cracking down on the protesters strongly enough, according to a transcript from CNN:
“People here that you’ll be seeing a lot of. Gen. Milley is here. He’s head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a fighter, a war hero, a lot of victories and no losses and he hates to see the way it’s being handled in the various states and I just put him in charge. The attorney general is here, Bill Barr, and we will activate Bill Barr and activate him very strongly. We’re strongly — the secretary of defense is here.
“We’re strongly looking for arrests. You have to get much tougher. You’re gonna get over it.”
Gov. Tony Evers was on the call, his spokesperson confirmed, although the transcript shows that he did not participate in the discussion and his spokesperson did not respond to questions for comment on his impression or reaction to the call. Trump castigated Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia, among other cities.
“You have to dominate. If you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time,” Trump continued. “They’re going to run all over you, you’ll look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate, and you have to arrest people, and you have to try people and they have to go to jail for long periods of time.”
Trump called on Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz to respond and praised Walz for setting an example — and for taking direction from Trump. “I know Gov. Walz is on the phone and we spoke and I fully agree with the way he handled it the last couple of days, I asked him to do that.”
Later he again praised Walz: “Tim you called up big numbers and the big numbers knocked them out so fast it was like bowling pins. … So, we automatically have our experiment and that’s … I hate to say, Minnesota, you had the first part, which was weak and pathetic, and you had the second part, which was domination, and those guys probably, largely left their [inaudible] one of your cities, one of your states because they’re not getting anywhere in Minnesota anymore. So you have that perfect contrast of Minnesota phase one, Minnesota phase two. It’s a beautiful thing to watch. It just can’t be any better.”
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