Springfield, IL – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker called out President Donald Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric in response to the nation’s racial unrest last week on a conference call with the President and the nation’s governors.
Trump made news by telling governors they need “to dominate” the street protests following the death of George Floyd in the custody of police in Minneapolis.
Trump called the protesters “anarchists.”
“Someone throwing a rock is like shooting a gun,” he said on the call. “You have to do retribution.”
‘I CAN’T LET THIS PASS’
At that point, 40 minutes into the call, Pritzker had heard enough.
“I want 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,” he said. “It’s been inflammatory, and it’s not OK 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,” Pritzker continued. “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 protestors. That will help us to bring order.”
‘THE PRESIDENT HAS FANNED THE FLAMES’
It was Trump’s call, so he got in the last word.
“OK, well, thank you very much, J.B.,” he replied. “I don’t like your rhetoric much either because I watched it, with respect to the coronavirus. I think you could have done a much better job, frankly, but that’s OK. And, you know, we don’t agree with each other.”
Later, Pritzker told reporters that he had to speak up when he had the chance.
“The truth is that the president has fanned the flames instead of bringing peace and calm,” he said. “It is usually the job of the president to stand up in these circumstances and try to bring down the temperature. That’s not what this president does.
“If he can’t say something that is going to help us across the nation to bring the temperature down, then he shouldn’t say anything at all.”