SACRAMENTO, Calif. – 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” of soldiers.
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.