Maryland's Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday that President Donald Trump's comments in response to the violence that has broken out at anti-police brutality protests across America have not helped calm the situation.
Hogan said on CNN'S "State of the Union" that "one of the most important things that a leader can do right now" is "lower the temperature."
Cities across the U.S. have seen violent protests in response to the May 25 death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died after a Minneapolis police officer restrained him by placing his knee on the back of his neck.
In his tweets, Trump has called for protesters to "honor the memory of George Floyd" by remaining peaceful, while also referring to those who acted unlawfully as "thugs," threatening to unleash "the unlimited power of our Military" upon them and slamming Minnesota's Democratic leaders for not being tough enough on them.
"And that's not helpful. It's not lowering the temperature," Hogan said. "It's sort of continuing to escalate the rhetoric. And I think it's just the opposite of the message that should have been coming out of the White House."
Hogan, was governor in 2015 when peaceful protests in Baltimore turned violent after the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American man who died in police custody. He is also a critic of Trump's who considered challenging him in the Republican primary this year.
"Inflammatory rhetoric, I just don’t think is helpful on either side," Hogan said Friday on NBC's "Today" show. "I do believe you’ve got to have law and order, that you’ve got to stop the burning and looting, but inciting violence with Twitter is not the way to go about it."
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Trump's tweets have only helped to stoke the rage fueling the anti-police brutality protests that turned violent in multiple American cities.
"There are times that you should just stop. And this is one of those times. He's making it worse," Bottoms told CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday.
"This is not about using military force. This is about where we are in America. We are beyond a tipping point in this country. And his rhetoric only inflames that. And he should just sometimes stop talking," Bottoms said.
'Riots,' 'violence,' 'looting': Words matter when talking about race and unrest, experts say
The National Guard has been released in Minneapolis to do the job that the Democrat Mayor couldn’t do. Should have been used 2 days ago & there would not have been damage & Police Headquarters would not have been taken over & ruined. Great job by the National Guard. No games!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2020
Twitter slapped one presidential tweet – which said, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" – with a warning that it violated the company's rules against "glorifying violence." The phrase was used by a Miami police chief more than 50 years ago about civil rights protesters, and some accused Trump of fanning racial division by evoking the brutal police tactics of that era.
Trump later tweeted the expression was "spoken as a fact, not as a statement." And he said "nobody should have any problem with this other than the haters, and those looking to cause trouble on social media."
Bottoms said the tweets were "reminiscent of Charlottesville, when President Trump just made it worse," referring to his controversial comment that there were "very fine people on both sides" of a violent confrontation in 2017 between white supremacists marchers and counterprotesters in Virginia.
Other city leaders were also upset by the president's tweets about the protests.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters Friday she feels Trump's "goal is to polarize and destabilize local government and to inflame racists' urges."
"I think that the president has a responsibility to help calm the nation, and he can start by not sending divisive tweets that are meant to hearken to the segregationist past of our country," Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said Sunday on NBC News' "Meet the Press."
"It's going to take community and government to heal the hurt that people are feeling,"
Bowser said. So what you see in cities across our nations, what we saw last night, there are people who are angry and people who are hurting. And some doing it in ways that are helpful to our cause. But we still have to acknowledge that hurt and that anger."
Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, whose district includes Minneapolis, said Trump "has failed in really understanding the kind of pain and anguish many of his citizens are feeling."
"When you have a president who really is glorifying violence and was talking about the kind of vicious dogs and weapons that could be unleashed on citizens, it is quite appalling and disturbing," Omar said Sunday on ABC News' "This Week."
"We condemn other nations when their presidents make those kind of statements," she added. "And we have to condemn our president at the highest sort of condemnation."
Bottoms told NBC News she would like to see leadership from Trump.
"And I would like to hear a genuine care and concern for our communities and where we are with race relations in America," she said.
Bottoms said she would not object to Trump addressing the nation from the Oval Office about the protests.
"But I am concerned that this president has a history of making matters worse."
Contributing: Nicholas Wu
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: George Floyd: GOP Gov. Larry Hogan says Trump tweets 'not helpful'