BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker spoke out against President Donald Trump’s “incendiary” comments Monday about protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The president told “weak” governors they “have to dominate” to enforce law and order when peaceful protests turn violent.

“I heard what the President said today about dominating and fighting. I know I should be surprised when I hear incendiary words like this from him. But I’m not,” Baker said. “At so many times during these past several weeks when the country needed compassionate leadership the most, it was simply nowhere to be found. Instead, we got bitterness, combativeness and self-interest.”

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Baker said he was unable to join the video teleconference because he was working on plans to reopen the Massachusetts economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. Trump told governors they “have to get much tougher” amid nationwide protests and criticized their responses, saying: “Most of you are weak.” And he chastised them for failing to use the National Guard more aggressively, saying they’re making themselves “look like fools.”

“That’s not what we need in Boston,” Baker said. “It’s not what we need right now in Massachusetts, and it’s definitely not what we need across this great country of ours, either.”

Massachusetts called on the National Guard to assist police in Boston after peaceful protests turned violent Sunday night and damaged stores and property along miles of city streets. Police arrested 53 people for charges ranging from looting to assault and battery on an officer.

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Baker has spoken out against Trump, a fellow Republican, in the past on issues such as immigration.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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