Pritzker Says Trump Can’t Send Military To Illinois Unless He Asks, Compares President To A ‘Dictator’

On hearing Trump threaten to send U.S. military troops to states, Pritzker said Tuesday the president was trying to sound like a “strong man.”

Side by side photos of President Donald Trump and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker
AP Photo
Side by side photos of President Donald Trump and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker
AP Photo

Pritzker Says Trump Can’t Send Military To Illinois Unless He Asks, Compares President To A ‘Dictator’

On hearing Trump threaten to send U.S. military troops to states, Pritzker said Tuesday the president was trying to sound like a “strong man.”

Gov. JB Pritzker continued his criticism Tuesday morning of President Trump’s response to the civil unrest, demonstrations and looting that have occurred in Illinois and elsewhere in the country, comparing the president to a dictator.

The previous day, Trump spoke from the Rose Garden and threatened to deploy U.S. military troops to cities and states to “quickly solve the problem” for governors or mayors who refuse “to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents.”

Pritzker contended on NPR’s Morning Edition that it’s “illegal” for a president to take such drastic actions unless a governor asks for that kind of federal action.

“You can hear in his rhetoric that he is simply trying to make himself sound like a strong man, almost like a dictator, as if he’s going to be responsible for bringing order,” Pritzker told host Steve Inskeep. “Well, the way you bring order is to bring down the temperature, and that’s not what he’s doing. And to address the issues — the legitimate issues — of the protesters who are out there peacefully demonstrating.”

Pritzker has activated up to 625 Illinois National Guard troops to provide support in nine counties around the state, including Cook, DuPage, Will, Kane and Kendall. On Sunday night, National Guard troops helped close streets around downtown Chicago.

Yesterday, Pritzker directly told Trump on a conference call that the president’s rhetoric was inflammatory.

Tony Arnold covers Illinois state politics and government for WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter @tonyjarnold.