Gov. Prtizker calls out President Trump for comments about George Floyd protests, protesters

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Prtizker calls out Trump for George Floyd protest rhetoric
"It's been inflammatory and that's not OK for that officer to choke George Floyd to death. But we have to call for calm.," Pritzker said on audio released from the call.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois governor JB Pritzker called out President Trump on a call Monday for his comments and rhetoric surrounding the death of George Floyd and the national protests it has sparked.

Pritzker said outright Monday afternoon that if Trump can't say anything that will help bring calm to the nation, he shouldn't say anything at all.

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Pritzker said he was tired of listening to words like "dominate" in regards to how to handle the violence from these nationwide protests.

"I think he should speak to the pain that's being experienced by people all across the country, African Americans, people of color," Pritzker said at a news conference. "It's time to call for calm around not just the city of Chicago, the entire state of Illinois and the entire country. That is, in part, the job of a president. This one hasn't done it. He talks about 'total domination.' I don't want to dominate peaceful protesters that have legitimate grievances.

So, he spoke up.

The governor's message to the president came just hours after a teleconference call alongside other U.S. governors and Trump. On that call, the president called on state leaders to be more "dominant" over violent protestors, and said that law enforcement should get "much tougher."

"We're strongly looking for arrests You have to get much tougher, you're going to get overridden," Trump said on the call. "You have to dominate. If you don't dominate, you're wasting your time. They're gonna run over you. You're going to look like a bunch of jerks."

Pritzker then confronted the president on the call, saying he was concerned about his choice of words.

"It's been inflammatory and that's not OK for that officer to choke George Floyd to death," Pritzker said on audio released from the call. "We've called our National Guard and our state police, but the rhetoric coming out of the White House is making it worse."

"People are feeling real pain out there," Pritzker added.

"OK, well thank you very much JB. I don't like your rhetoric much either, because I watched it, with respect to the coronavirus, and I don't like your rhetoric much either," Trump replied. "I think you could have done a much better job, frankly."

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Gov. Pritzker said Monday Trump's rhetoric is only making the ongoing situation across the country worse, and is not addressing the legitimate concerns of peaceful protesters.

"The truth is the president has fanned the flames instead of bringing peace and calm," Pritzker said at a Monday afternoon press conference. "It is usually the job of the president to stand up and try to bring down the temperature. That's not what this president does."

When the governor was asked what needs to be done, Pritzker said we need national leaders, in addition to the clergy, to make a unified call for calm and peace on the streets.

President Trump announced Monday evening he is using the active military to patrol Washington, D.C. He also emphasized law and order, and called the looting and the violence the acts of "domestic terrorists."