(Bloomberg) – President Donald Trump has threatened to turn to the US Army. to end “unrest and lawlessness” across the country in a speech at the Rose Garden that was cut short by the sound of explosions as federal agents dispersed peaceful protesters outside the White House.

On Monday night Trump urged governors and mayors to “dominate the streets” and announced that he would send thousands of heavily armed military personnel to the country’s capital after days of violent unrest following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd. , at the hands of the Minneapolis Police.

Following his speech, Trump took an unannounced walk across the street through Lafayette Square to visit St. John’s Episcopal Church with tear gas still in the air, which had been used to clear protesters. The house of worship, known as “The Church of the Presidents,” had been damaged in a fire the night before, when police and protesters clashed on the streets of Washington.

At church, Trump held up a Bible he had brought from the White House and gathered his top aides to pose for the photos.

“We have the best country in the world,” said Trump. “We will maintain your security.”

The president’s words and actions sparked immediate protests from detractors, who argued that Trump further escalated tensions and undermined claims that he was “an ally of all peaceful protesters.” Democratic politicians said they were alarmed by Trump’s threat to send the US Army against Americans who were protesting against police brutality.

But the president made clear that Monday’s show of force was intended to show that his patience had run out after three days of protests, which at one point led to such violence that Trump was taken to an underground security bunker.

Restoring a sense of control is crucial for a president who has come under fire for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 Americans and crippled the economy. Trump and his advisers believe that the protests are an opportunity to win over voters frustrated by the destruction caused by some of the protesters.

In a conference call with governors on Monday morning, Trump signaled his desire to appear more in control and called on state authorities, whom he called “weak,” to toughen up their response to the protests.

“You have to dominate,” Trump told governors and law enforcement. “If they don’t dominate, they are wasting time.

Original Note: Trump Threatens to Use Troops to Crush Unrest in U.S. Cities

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