Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) is calling on President Donald Trump to tone down his rhetoric after days of violent demonstrations.
“I wanted to take this moment — and I can’t let it pass — to speak up and say that I’ve been extraordinarily concerned about the rhetoric that’s been used by you,” Pritzker told Trump during a phone call with several governors on Monday.
He continued, “It’s been inflammatory, and it’s not okay for that officer to choke George Floyd to death. But we have to call for calm. We have to have police reform called for. We’ve called out our national guard and our state police, but the rhetoric that’s coming out of the White House is making it worse.”
“And I need to say that people are feeling real pain out there and we’ve got to have national leadership in calling for calm and making sure that we’re addressing the concerns of the legitimate peaceful protests. That will help us to bring order.”
Read the transcript below:
Trump did not appear too receptive to Pritzker’s appeal, as he said, “Okay, well thank you very much J.B. I don’t like your rhetoric much either because I watched with respect to the coronavirus, and I don’t like your rhetoric much either.”
“I think you could’ve done a much better job, frankly. But that’s okay. And you know, we don’t agree with each other,” he added.
During a contentious phone call with governors on Monday, Trump berated them and said “most of you are weak,” as IJR reported.
Trump also encouraged governors to “dominate.”
“You have to dominate, or you’ll look like a bunch of jerks, you have to arrest and try people,” he said.
Additionally, Trump called for arrests and lengthy prison sentences for violent rioters, “You’ve got to arrest people, you have to track people, you have to put them in jail for 10 years, and you’ll never see this stuff again.”
Trump received criticism last week for a series of tweets he sent out. Many argued that his comments are fueling the rage.
During remarks on Saturday, Trump denounced violent demonstrations, “What we are seeing now on the streets of our cities has nothing to do with justice or with peace.”
He continued, “Those making excuses or justification for violence are not helping the downtrodden, but delivering new anguish and new pain.”
Trump also vowed to stop “mob violence.”
While Pritzker called for Trump to call for calm, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) said the president should “just stop talking” about the protests, as IJR reported.
“This is like Charlottesville all over again, He speaks, and he makes it worse. There are times when you should just be quiet. And I wish that he would just be quiet,” she said on Sunday.
Lance Bottoms added, “Or, if he can’t be silent, if there is somebody of good sense and good conscience in the White House, put him in front of a teleprompter and pray he reads it, and at least says the right things, because he is making it worse.”