WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump threatened on Monday to deploy the United States military unless states quickly halted the violent protests that have convulsed cities from coast to coast, speaking in the White House Rose Garden as tear gas canisters could be heard exploding just a block away.
Trump said he was recommending that governors deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers to “dominate the streets.” If governors fail to take action, the president said, he will mobilize “thousands and thousands” of U.S. soldiers and “quickly solve the problem for them.”
“We have the greatest country in the world,” the president declared. “We’re going to keep it safe.”
Minutes before Trump began speaking, police and National Guard soldiers began aggressively forcing back hundreds of peaceful protesters who had gathered in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House, where they were chanting against police brutality and the Minneapolis death of George Floyd.
Floyd died last week after he was pinned to the pavement by a police officer who put his knee on the handcuffed black man’s neck until he stopped breathing. His death set off protests that spread from Minneapolis across America. His brother Terrence pleaded with protesters on Monday to remain peaceful.