Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) on Sunday criticized President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE’s response to unrest in the District, saying the president should be helping to “calm the nation.”
“I think that the president has a responsibility to help calm the nation,” Bowser said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in a joint interview with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D).
“He can start by not sending divisive tweets that are meant to hearken to the segregationist past of our country,” she said, referencing a tweet by the president in which he threatened demonstrators outside the White House with “vicious dogs.”
Bowser condemned property damage that occurred during the demonstrations in the city.
“We’re sending a very clear message to people that they have a right to exercise their First Amendment rights, but not to destroy our city … we saw a level of just destruction and mayhem among some that was maddening,” she said.
Bowser also addressed the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and whether a Fourth of July celebration the president reportedly wants to arrange on the National Mall would be feasible. The city began a phased reopening process Friday but days before, Deborah Birx, the head of the White House’s coronavirus task force, said the District has among the highest positivity rates in the nation in testing for the virus.
“Even before the events of the last several days, we’ve been very concerned about large gatherings,” Bowser said. “We will not be in a position to allow parades in our city while we’re still in Phase One of reopening from the coronavirus.”
Bowser said she didn't know if the city would be in the next phase of reopening by July 4.
“We’ll watch and see what this virus does but we’ll continue to work with the Department of the Interior and National Park Service,” she added. “Of course we want the Fourth of July to be acknowledged, but in a safe way.”