DC Mayor, President Trump Spar Over Federal Forces on City Streets

NBC Universal, Inc.

The clash between D.C.’s mayor and the president over federal troops on city streets has escalated. 

As racial justice demonstrations continue in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Mayor Muriel Bowser shared a letter Friday that she sent to President Donald Trump. She requested the withdrawal of “all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence from Washington, D.C.”  

Federal officers are “inflaming demonstrators and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and for reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing Black Americans,” the letter dated June 4 says. 

Trump responded with two fiery tweets Friday afternoon, writing: “The incompetent Mayor of Washington, D.C., @MayorBowser, who’s budget is totally out of control and is constantly coming back to us for “handouts”, is now fighting with the National Guard, who saved her from great embarrassment… […] ...over the last number of nights. If she doesn’t treat these men and women well, then we’ll bring in a different group of men and women!” 

The mayor was asked about Trump's tweets at a news conference about the coronavirus crisis. 

“You know what they say about the pot and the kettle,” she said. 

Trump again tweeted that Bowser is incompetent Friday evening, saying she isn't qualified to be mayor.

Bowser then tweeted video of two Black Lives Matter light projections on buildings near the White House.

Bowser has repeatedly said it was inappropriate for armed federal forces without identifying insignias to patrol streets during the protests in response to racism, police violence and the Minneapolis killing of Floyd. 

As Bowser asked for federal troops to be taken off city streets, a D.C. officer inadvertently gave police powers to out-of-state members of the National Guard. 

The Metropolitan Police Department officer was supposed to only swear in members of the D.C. National Guard. The officer swore in members of the National Guard from elsewhere in the United States, Bowser's office said Friday.

D.C. is working to rescind their police powers. Information was not immediately released on how many members of the Guard were sworn in. 

Scores of people are expected to attend several demonstrations in D.C., on Saturday in what may become the highest-attended in a string of protests against racism and police violence.

Events are planned Saturday in D.C. at the Lincoln Memorial, Dupont Circle, Lafayette Square and Malcolm X Park. A march across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, between Maryland and Virginia, also is in the works. Stay with us for details. 

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story. 

Contact Us