Dem Govs Reject Trump Military Call 06/02 06:40
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Several Democratic governors on Monday pushed
back against President Donald Trump's threat to deploy the U.S. military unless
they dispatch National Guard units to "dominate the streets" in reaction to the
violence that has erupted across the country.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he doesn't believe the federal government
can send military troops into his state. He accused the president of creating
an "incendiary moment" by threatening to do just that to quell violence that
has arisen as demonstrators have taken to the streets in reaction to the
killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
"I reject the notion that the federal government can send troops into the
state of Illinois," Pritzker said on CNN after Trump urged governors to deploy
the Guard. If they did not, he said he would send in "thousands and thousands"
Pritzker was among the first governors to react to Trump's comments, which
came hours after the president called governors "weak" and urged them to take a
more aggressive response to weekend violence. It came as Americans gathered to
protest police brutality against black Americans following the killing of
Floyd, who was handcuffed and on the ground pleading for air as a white police
officer pressed a knee on his neck for several minutes.
Some demonstrations have turned violent, with people breaking into and
stealing from businesses, smashing car windows and setting fires.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not deployed the state's National Guard
to New York City, although he said earlier Monday the state had 13,000 troops
that "we can use at any moment."
"I say thank you but no thank you," Cuomo said on CNN about Trump's call to
send military troops to the states.
At least 23 states and the District of Columbia had already deployed guard
troops as of Monday morning, according to a statement from the National Guard.
It wasn't clear whether the action would be enough to satisfy the president.
Trump took no questions from reporters and did not say how he would decide
whether a state's response was sufficient.
Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, who has activated the state's
guard, said in a statement he prays "no soldier and no civilian is injured or
killed by this reckless fit."
"This president has repeatedly proven he is incapable of governing and shown
nothing but false bravado throughout the chaos that has accompanied his time in
office," Inslee said in a statement.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, also a Democrat, said any suggestions the state's
National Guard is ill equipped to handle the states needs is "misinformed." "As
the Commander In Chief of the Nevada National Guard I can state, categorically,
that they have done their duty to protect all Nevadans, and will continue to do
In neighboring Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown said the violence is being
perpetrated by a small segment of demonstrators. She refused to deploy the
National Guard on Sunday at Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler's request because she
was concerned it would escalate a tense situation, but on Monday activated 50
unarmed guard members in support roles.
"You don't defuse violence by putting soldiers on the streets," Brown, a
Democrat, said earlier Monday in reaction to Trump's comments about governors
being weak in their response. "Trump wants governors to deploy the National
Guard as a show of force to intimidate the public. I want to ensure that the
public can safely raise their voices in this much-needed call for reform."
She didn't immediately comment on Trump's remarks about deploying the U.S.
Nor did California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has deployed thousands of guard
troops to Los Angeles and other cities. He called Trump's morning comments
"noise" and avoided addressing them directly, although he said the nation is
desperate for leadership.
Guard members can assist law enforcement and perform duties such as traffic
control, communications support and extinguishing fires.