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Whitmer slams Trump's 'dangerous comments' on protesters

Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerSunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day Trump says he doesn't actually want Whitmer, Biden and Obama to be locked up despite chants The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Tipping point week for Trump, Biden, Congress, voters MORE (D) slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 MORE over his comments telling governors to "dominate" protesters and "take back your streets" after demonstrations over the death of George Floyd turned violent in multiple cities. 

The president’s dangerous comments should be gravely concerning to all Americans, because they send a clear signal that this administration is determined to sow the seeds of hatred and division, which I fear will only lead to more violence and destruction,” Whitmer said in a statement Monday. “We must reject this way of thinking. This is a moment that calls for empathy, humanity, and unity.”

Trump’s comments were made during a call Monday with governors. 

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"This call was insane," one source briefed on it said. "They just went off on governors."

Whitmer said the call was “deeply disturbing.” 

“Instead of offering support or leadership to bring down the temperature at protests, President Trump told governors to ‘put it down’ or we would be ‘overridden.’ He said governors should ‘dominate’ protesters, ‘or you’ll look like a bunch of jerks,’” Whitmer said. “The president repeatedly and viciously attacked governors, who are doing everything they can to keep the peace while fighting a once-in-a-generation global pandemic.”

She urged Americans to instead “heed the powerful words” of Trump’s predecessor, former President Obama, who published an essay Monday in response to the protests. 

“If, going forward, we can channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action, then this moment can be a real turning point in our nation’s long journey to live up to our highest ideals,” Obama wrote in the essay published on Medium

Echoing Obama’s message, Whitmer urged Americans to “pull together and do the hard work of building a nation that works for everyone.” 

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Democrats have widely condemned Trump for his comments about the protests. 

Last week, he was criticized for tweeting that protesters in Minneapolis, where Floyd died in police custody, were “thugs” and for saying that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” a phrase used in the 1960s by a white Miami police chief accused of bigotry against African Americans. Trump has denied knowing the history of the phrase. 

The president again received criticism after threatening to send “vicious dogs” to combat protesters outside the White House. 

Floyd died in Minneapolis last week after an officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes during an arrest, with Floyd calling for help and saying he couldn't breathe.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other officers involved were also fired but have not been charged.