White House: Trump to use 'federal assets' in response to violent protests

White House: Trump to use 'federal assets' in response to violent protests
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE plans to use “additional federal assets” across the country in response to protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the White House said Monday.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the unspecified assets will be used in addition to a “central command center” to include Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley, Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Stopgap spending measure awaits Senate vote | Trump nominates former Nunes aide for intelligence community watchdog | Trump extends ban on racial discrimination training to contractors, military Overnight Defense: Pentagon redirects pandemic funding to defense contractors | US planning for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May | Anti-Trump GOP group puts ads in military papers Official: Pentagon has started 'prudent planning' for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May MORE and Attorney General William BarrBill BarrFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Why a backdoor to encrypted data is detrimental to cybersecurity and data integrity FBI official who worked with Mueller raised doubts about Russia investigation MORE.

“What the president has said is he wants to dominate the streets with National Guard, with a police presence,” McEnany told reporters.

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McEnany’s comments come after Trump, in a leaked phone call with state governors, said he put Milley “in charge” of the protest response.

Asked about what Trump meant, McEnany said the four-star general has “been on point in talking about the National Guard, the effectiveness and in ensuring that they’re utilized to great effect across the country,” appearing to indicate that he would be the face of any ordered military response.

“What studies have shown, as Gen. Milley noted — he was in the governor’s call, his points all pertained to the National Guard — and he noted that there are several studies that when there’s an overwhelming National Guard presence it actually deescalates the situation and causes less civil unrest," McEnany said.

Esper, meanwhile, said on the call that the sooner that officials “mass and dominate the battlespace the sooner this dissipates and we can get back to the right normal.”

Massive protests erupted in Minneapolis and across the country on Friday night over the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody after an officer was filmed kneeling on his neck for an extended period during an arrest.

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Governors in 23 states and the District of Columbia had since activated more than 17,000 National Guard members to aid state and local law enforcement in response to riots that have come with the protests.

And the Pentagon on Friday reportedly took the rare step of ordering the Army to prepare several active-duty U.S. military police units to deploy to Minneapolis.

State governors typically hold control over whether to activate the Guard, though Trump is reportedly deciding whether to federalize the military arm and bring them under his control.