President Trump announced from the White House Rose Garden Monday evening that he planned to mobilize “all available federal resources, civilian and military” to put an end to violent protests across the country, while blaming the outbursts on “professional anarchists, looters, criminals, antifa” whom he described as “domestic terrorists” bringing widespread harm to the nation.
As expected following remarks from Press Sec McEnany earlier, President Trump insisted during a brief speech that he would send in military personnel to quell violence and looting if governors failed to act. He also insisted that his administration was committed to justice for Floyd and his family, and that Trump’s administration is “an ally” of peaceful protesters.
“I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers,” Trump said Monday at the White House, clearly seeking to reassure terrified business owners and members of the community in areas hard-hit by the coronavirus and the riots that he would uphold his duty to maintain order.
Trump insisted his heavy handed response had nothing to do with suppressing the right to peacefully protest.
“We cannot allow an ‘angry mob” drown out peaceful protesters,” Trump said, describing the looting and attacks on journalists and bystanders as “acts of domestic terrorism”.
In an implicit reference to New York, Trump said he would send in federal troops if cities failed to deal with any violent uprisings. “If cities refuse…I will deploy the united states military and quickly solve the problem for them,” Trump said.
“We are ending the riots and lawlessness, that has spread throughout our country. We will end it now,” Trump said.
He finished his remarks just before a 7pmET curfew took effect in the capital city.
According to the FT, insiders said Trump aides had debated whether the president should address the nation. Some argued that he needed to try to bring the country together, while others said he would achieve little and would end up looking weak if the violence continued – meaning that Trump likely means what he says. After all, in his mind, his reelection prospects might depend on how “tough” he looks this week.
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Update (1815ET): After President Trump announced plans for an impromptu address to the nation, caving to Republican lawmakers and Fox News hosts who had been pushing him to deliver a presidential address to the nation from the Oval Office like his predecessor George HW Bush did after the Rodney King riots.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon just announced that more troops are on standby ahead of what’s expected to be another night of chaos in DC.
- PENTAGON: ADDITIONAL FORCES ON ALERT STATUS FOR DC DEPLOYMENT
- DEFENSE OFFICIAL SAYS FORCES NOT CURRENTLY BEING DEPLOYED TO DC
- NATIONAL GUARD TO PROTECT MONUMENTS, WHITE HOUSE: PENTAGON
- PENTAGON: TOTAL OF 600-800 NATIONAL GUARD BEING SENT TO D.C.
Federal agents from the DEA and other agencies have been deputized, and are reportedly stopping traffic heading into downtown DC.
There’s been a full activation of @DCNationalGuard.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) June 1, 2020
Journalists decried President Trump’s latest calls for an escalation of force in DC.
Riots are met with force. That’s true for every nation.
— Cate Long (@cate_long) June 1, 2020
In New York, the NYPD just released photos of the suspects who allegedly defaced St Patrick’s Cathedral last night.
— Tony Aiello (@AielloTV) June 1, 2020
After days of protests, the brother of George Floyd is leading a peaceful vigil in Minneapolis.
— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) June 1, 2020
At a rally in Hartford, Conn., police adhered to a ‘community policing’ approach which has grown in popularity across the state in recent years.
— Russell Blair (@RussellBlairCT) June 1, 2020
In a report published a few hours ago, the LA Times quotes several small business owners in Santa Monica and elsewhere round LA County who claimed that police didn’t even bother to take on the looters, and instead deliberately focused their militarized weaponry on mostly peaceful protesters, who skirmished with police when provoked.
“Where are the police? They’re nowhere. There’s not a policeman in sight. It’s just like a free-for-all,” Landy remembered thinking. “It was just shocking. I was outraged.”
He wasn’t alone. From the Grove shopping mall and Santa Monica’s business district to downtown Long Beach, television beamed live images all weekend of looters breaking into stores and stealing merchandise – often without officers in sight.
The mass protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody have proved a vexing challenge for law enforcement agencies. They have been encouraging peaceful demonstrations, but in recent days watched them devolve as looters and vandals broke off from the peaceful protesters, stealing and setting fires.
This probably wouldn’t be a bad time to remind the world that tear gas is actually a chemical weapon that’s banned in warfare under international conventions – but is still somehow used by law enforcement from Venezuela, to Hong Kong, to the US.
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Update (1605ET): After raising doubts about its efficacy, NY Gov. Cuomo said Monday afternoon that he would impose an 11pm curfew in NYC effective Monday evening until 5am. Mayor de Blasio announced the news after talking it over with Cuomo.
New Yorkers: I’ve spoken with @NYGovCuomo and for everyone’s safety we have decided to implement a citywide curfew in New York City tonight. It will take effect at 11pm and be lifted at 5am tomorrow morning.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) June 1, 2020
During Monday’s COVID presser, Cuomo said that it was possible for a well-intentioned protest movement to be “hijacked” by criminals. “Can you have a legitimate protest movement hijacked? Yes you can,” Gov. Cuomo says. “There is no doubt there are outside groups that come in to disrupt.”
However, he added “I don’t even believe it’s the protesters. I believe there are people using the protests for their own purpose. There are people who want to sow the seeds of anarchy. Who want to disrupt.”
Earlier, the SBA, the Sargeants Benevolent Association, one of the NYPD’s most powerful unions, criticized de Blasio for not allowing cops to do their jobs, and called on the mayor to impose a curfew and allow mounted patrols (cops on horseback).
Around the time that Cuomo announced the news during a radio interview Monday afternoon, the SBA’s twitter account tweeted a message that was quickly taken down by twitter.
The governor’s office released a statement on the decision. Read it below:
There will be a citywide curfew in NYC starting at 11pm TONIGHT (6/1), lasting until 5am.
NYC residents — you must stay home after 11 PM! pic.twitter.com/gZXBvPOmOp
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 1, 2020
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Update (1135ET): After Washington DC and NYC bizarrely refused to impose curfews this weekend while nearly 3 dozen other major cities set curfews beginning as early as 4pmET on Sunday, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser is planning to implement a curfew starting tonight at 7pmET (and again tomorrow), while de Blasio tries to save face by saying he’s “strongly considering” a curfew after mobs plunder stores, set fires following day of protests.
President Trump, meanwhile, reportedly told governors, mayors and law enforcement officials during a video meeting that their response to the unrest was “weak”, and pressured them to allow cops to take more violent measures to contain these crowds during a hastily scheduled phone call to discuss “security measures” Monday morning. Trump also reportedly threatened to “activate” AG Barr if the unrest continues which sounds…more ridiculous than he probably intended.
Comments reported a few hours after the meeting ended claimed Trump threatened to send the national guard into NYC (which already boasts its own private army, the NYPD).
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Update (1100ET): The Global Times is capitalizing on the unrest in the US, and exploiting it for maximum propaganda benefit.
Before and after photos of the #WhiteHouse. The White House went dark Sunday night, turning off almost all of its external lights, as protesters set fires and protested outside. Some netizens said to @realDonaldTrump: your city is burning, but you turn off the lights and hide? pic.twitter.com/aKlqzPhTKb
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) June 1, 2020
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Update (1045ET): As NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio surveys the wreckage from last night, and reckons with the PR embarrassment of having his daughter arrested with dozens of other demonstrators, the mayor said some “late evening protests” were not acceptable.
You mean the demonstrations that happened after your daughter was arrested?
Or the “demonstrations” like this one?
WATCH: NYPD deals with looters caught red-handed when they were “seeking justice” inside a #Soho shoe store. This is just one of DOZENS of NYC businesses destroyed overnight. @NYCMayor refused to set a curfew and refused the National Guard. pic.twitter.com/30sNa8wbgR
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) June 1, 2020
Addressing an incident from last night where an NYPD officer drew his gun, and another where two NYPD vehicles “surged” into a crowd of “protesters” blocking the road as they tried to get by, Mayor de Blasio said the cops “shouldn’t have done” what they did (after saying last night that the demonstrators were in the wrong), and also said the cop who drew his gun should have his badge taken, and that the vehicle incident would face an internal inspection.
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Following what was either the third or the sixth night (depending on who you read) of chaos to sweep across America following the death of George Floyd a week ago, Americans surveying the wreckage are being met by staggering totals. After tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators, violent anarchists and opportunistic looters commingled for another night of chaos in cities from California to New York, and from Seattle to South Florida.
Reports published late Sunday/early Monday revealed that President Trump spent part of Friday in an underground bunker under the White House as secret service fired rubber bullets into crowds of violent and non- violent demonstrators. Over the entire three nights of chaos, at least 4,400 people have been arrested, according to a tally compiled by The Associated Press. Arrests ranged from stealing and blocking highways to breaking the dozens of curfews imposed by cities around the country on Saturday and Sunday as the violence spread, the AP reports.
Curfews were imposed in more than 30 major cities around the U.S., including Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. About 5,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen were activated in 15 states and Washington, D.C.
In Indianapolis, two people were reported dead in bursts of downtown violence this weekend, adding to deaths reported in Detroit and Minneapolis in recent days. In Oakland, two federal agents were shot Friday night; one was killed.
One man was shot and killed when police and the National Guard opened fire on a crowd that had reportedly turned violent in Louisville, the city where Breonna Taylor was killed. WaPo reports Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad confirming the Kentucky National Guard and Louisville police were dispatched to the parking lot at Dino’s Food Mart around 12:15 a.m., where a large crowd had gathered, and that as they tried to disperse the crowd, somebody opened fire at an officer.
Minneapolis and St. Paul were largely spared on Sunday evening following early marches that were largely peaceful. Though there was one high profile incident involving a tanker driving into a crowd of marchers on a highway (the driver of the truck was later arrested), the widespread violence that plagued other areas didn’t materialize. As WaPo reports, the city on Monday morning looked like a “ghost town”.
But this relative peace came at a high cost, as the national guard moved to forcefully enforce curfews, even going so far as to fire paint cannisters and rubber bullets at people sitting on porches who ignored shouts to “get inside.”
The gas stations are closed. The grocery stores are dark. And along Hiawatha Avenue in South Minneapolis, one of the only restaurants serving is a McDonald’s, where every inch of the building’s windows are boarded up except for two small holes at the drive-through just big enough to pass along food.
After nearly a week of unrest in response to the death of George Floyd, city and state officials were optimistic Sunday after a night passed without the dangerous fires, looting and violence that have cut a wide swath of devastation through the heart of this Midwestern city.
But it came with a new reality: Thousands of National Guard troops and state and city police officers moving to aggressively – and sometimes violently – regain control of the streets, and a lockdown that has residents under curfew and has closed the major highways at night.
In some neighborhoods, residents stand outside their homes and businesses with guns, fueling a sense of lawlessness, while medical students descend on the scene with supplies to assist those in need, adding to what increasingly feels like a domestic war zone.
Minnesota’s Democratic governor, who has been criticized for not responding forcefully enough in the beginning. Now, he says, his approach might be remembered as heavy-handed – but he doesn’t care.
“There will be critiques of me that this is excessive. Why are you keeping forces on the ground?” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) said Sunday. It would be “irresponsible” to dial back the state’s response, amid rumors of outside agitators that he and other officials say have come into the city to sow chaos, he said.
In particular, a video of cops and national guard firing at a woman standing peacefully on her porch went viral, eliciting a torrent of criticism. State police leaders defended it
Watch “MINNEAPOLIS COPS AND NATIONAL GUARD FIRE PROJECTILE THAT HITS INNOCENT WOMAN STANDING ON HER PORCH” on YouTube https://t.co/PrrktFKDq8 I think I’m not sure but these all white people getting shot at for being on there front porch
— r (@rburttt) May 31, 2020
On Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear said in a statement that he had authorized the Kentucky State Police to independently investigate the fatal shooting in Louisville “given the seriousness of the situation.”
But the man in Louisville wasn’t the only casualty of the unrest. As governors in 26 states called in the National Guard and Secret Service agents again clashed with demonstrators outside the White House, media reported that at least six people had been killed in violence across the US, as gunfire rang out from Detroit to Indianapolis to Chicago to Omaha, notably correlating with the sites of notorious police killings.
While journalists, pundits, celebrities etc joined together to discuss the importance of ensuring that black voices are heard, it appears that many of the “antifascist” protesters were too busy fighting racism by lighting black communities on fire to listen to a handful of community leaders in Portland, Oregon last night.
Ron Herndon, the longtime director of the Portland-based Albina Head Start, held a peaceful event Sunday night at his organizations, a staple of black life in the city for years, according to the Oregonian.
“It appears most of the young folks tearing up the city are younger white people,” he said. “If somehow you think that tearing up (downtown) is going to help black people, you are sadly mistaken. Please don’t think you are doing any of us any favors by tearing stuff up.”
The “nonpartisan, politically neutral” mainstream press has decided to unilaterally give those looting and provoking violence and destruction a pass. Just because they’re telling you that is the “morally correct” position, doesn’t mean they’re right.
As officials in California deal with the aftermath on Monday, California state government buildings “in downtown city areas” will be closed Monday, officials said, as authorities worry about the prospect of more violence. And while a brief number of international protests were planned in solidarity, many, including a march in Sydney, Australia, have been canceled due to COVID-19-linked concerns.