President Donald Trump, speaking to governors about their responses to protests over George Floyd’s death, said Minnesota was “a laughingstock all over the world,” according to audio posted by CNN.

Gov. Tim Walz said Monday that he responded by saying, “No one’s laughing here. We’re in pain. We’re crying. We saw a man lose his life in front of them and our challenge is that this is about social trust, social compacts and reestablishing faith in the people who are there to serve them.”

In the wake of the death of Floyd, 46, in Minneapolis police custody last Monday, there were repeated instances of arson and looting in St. Paul and Minneapolis. Walz called up the Minnesota National Guard on Thursday and then took the unprecedented step of fully activating it on Saturday.

Overnight curfew has been in place in St. Paul and Minneapolis and, with more law enforcement and the National Guard on the streets, there weren’t major problems on Saturday and Sunday in the Twin Cities.

Trump said he and Walz have talked.

“I fully agree with the way he handled it the last couple of days,” Trump said in a recording of the teleconference with governors that was posted by The New York Times. “I asked him to do that. … You have to dominate.”

Trump told the state leaders on Monday they “have to get much tougher.”

“Most of you are weak,” Trump said. “You have to arrest people.”

During Walz’s press briefing Monday, responding to reporters’ questions about the call, he said he thanked Trump and the defense secretary for their support.

“I also shared with the president that a posture of a force on the ground is both unsustainable militarily, it’s also unsustainable socially because it’s the antithesis of how we live, it’s the antithesis of civilian control.”

Much as other states watched New York and Washington to see how they responded to COVID-19, Walz said governors have been calling him about the unrest sweeping the country.

“We’ve talked about using this police presence and public safety presence to separate the legitimate and visceral pain … from the people who are causing problems,” Walz said.

This report includes information from the Associated Press.


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