GOP senator says 'it would be helpful' if Trump changed 'the tone of his message' on protests

Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyGOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy NSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general MORE (R-Pa.) is urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpKimberly Guilfoyle reports being asymptomatic and 'feeling really pretty good' after COVID-19 diagnosis Biden says he will rejoin WHO on his first day in office Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE to “change the tone of his message” when reacting to the mass demonstrations around the country protesting police brutality. 

“I have not spoken with the president in the last few days. I do think some of his tweets have not been helpful, and it would be helpful if he would change the tone of his message,” Toomey told a group of reporters in Philadelphia Monday when asked about some of Trump’s recent salvos against protesters. 

Trump came under sharp criticism after he tweeted Friday that he would deploy National Guard troops to quell protests and “assume control,” warning “when the looting starts, the shooting starts."

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The latter is a phrase used in the 1960s by a white Miami police chief to describe his willingness to use violence on civil rights protesters.

As protesters demonstrated in front of the White House Saturday, Trump said the Secret Service was prepared to unleash “the most vicious dogs” and “the most ominous weapons.” 

The remark sparked a fight with Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, who slammed Trump’s Saturday tweets as “gross.”

“To make a reference to vicious dogs is no subtle reminder to African Americans of segregationists who let dogs out on innocent [people],” Bowser said later Saturday. 

While a number of Democrats over the weekend urged Trump to tamp down his rhetoric, other Republican senators also displayed an unease with the president's words. 

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Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottTim Scott says he's talking with House Democrats about reviving police reform bill Public unites, Congress gridlocks — there's a better way Trump sealed his own fate MORE (S.C.), the only African American Republican senator, warned on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump’s tweets were “not constructive.” 

Trump has also lashed out at the governors for not cracking down more forcefully on looting and destruction of property.

The president told governors on a conference call Monday their response to riots and unruly demonstrations was “weak” and warned they risked looking like “fools” if they failed to show more strength.

“You have to dominate; if you don’t dominate you’re wasting your time. They’re going to run over you, you’re going to look like a bunch of jerks,” Trump told the governors, according to audio of the call first reported by CBS News.