On the seventh day of protests over the death of George Floyd in custody, President Donald Trump addressed the nation Monday night. Outside the White House, police cleared demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullets. “Our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, Antifa and others,” Trump said. Calling their actions “domestic terror,” he said: “We can’t allow the righteous cries and peaceful protesters to be drowned out. We are taking steps to end the lawlessness right now.” Trump called on every mayor and governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers to dominate the streets until the violence is quelled – else he would deploy the army. He then posed next to a damaged church and held a Bible aloft for the cameras.
Critics of the president’s speech warned that fighting words on law and order would not pacify the unrest that has spread to more than 75 cities, without assurances of reforms of the police and correction of injustices. Curfews were extended Monday night to 40 cities, including NYC, and more than 4,000 people arrested.