The governor of Virginia refused to send his National Guard troops across the Potomac River into Washington D.C., despite a request from the White House for the state to deploy its guardsmen to help disperse protesters.
'I am not going to send our men and women in uniform of a very proud National Guard to Washington for a photo-op,' Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, said at a press conference in Richmond on Tuesday.
White House officials also inquired about taking control of Washington D.C.'s police force as President Donald Trump sought to retake control of the situation after protests broke out over the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
Northam denied a request from the Pentagon for Virginia send between 3,000 and 5,000 members of its National Guard to the nation's capitol.
Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia, a Democrat, refused to send his National Guard troops across the Potomac River into Washington D.C.
President Donald Trump's administration had requested help from the National Guard ahead of the president's visit to St. John's Church Monday evening; above Trump walks through a line of Washington D.C. police on his way to the church
Military vehicles carrying National Guard personnel drive along West Executive Drive next to the White House on Monday afternoon
Truck loads of guard members arrived at the White House Monday afternoon shortly before peaceful protesters were cleared from area around the complex with tear gas, rubber bullets, and Park Police on horse back. It was done so Trump could have his photo taken in front of St. John's Church, across the street from the White House, which was boarded up after some damage in Sunday's protest.
The governor said he denied the request for Virginia National Guard troops when Defense Secretary Mark Esper called him because he was concerned Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had not been consulted.
He also noted the state of Virginia has its own protests to deal with and didn't think it was in the state's 'best interests' to send its guard to the District of Columbia.
National Guard troops fall under the direction of governors unless the president federalizes them. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, did send some of his Nation Guard members into Washington D.C.
But President Trump didn't help his relationship with governors when he told them during a video conference on Monday that they are 'weak' and need to 'dominate' cities ravaged by riots or they will look like 'jerks.'
'You have to dominate, if you don't dominate you're wasting your time. They're going to run over you, you're going to look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate,' audio of the call revealed.
'You've got to arrest people, you have to track people, you have to put them in jail for 10 years and you'll never see this stuff again,' Trump said during the 55-minute call. 'We're doing it in Washington, D.C. We're going to do something that people haven't seen before.'
Also during the call, Esper told governors to 'dominate the battlespace,' by mobilizing their National Guards.
Meanwhile, the White House inquired about taking control of D.C. police as President Trump reportedly grew angry about news coverage that he fled into a White House bunker on Friday and was worried for his safety during protests, which came close to the White House complex.
White House officials inquired about taking control of D.C. police but Mayor Muriel Bowser threatened legal action if they tried
A protester is arrested near the White House on Monday as the area was cleared out
The District of Columbia is governed by the mayor and the city council but its status as a federal enclave allows the president to take control of local police officers in emergency situations.
John Falcicchio, Bowser's chief of staff, said the mayor and other city officials told White House officials they would mount legal challenge if the federal government attempted to take over.
'We believe we are firm in our understanding that what was presented yesterday would not be a prudent move,' Falcicchio told reporters. 'Although there were discussions yesterday, they still report to Mayor Bowser.'
D.C. officials said they were not involved in the decision to clear out the protesters before President Trump went to the historic St. Johns' Church, known as the Church of Presidents as every president since James Madison has prayed there.
The church is located directly across from the north side of the White House, only separated by Lafayette Park, which was tear gassed to disperse protesters moments before the president emerged from his residence to make the short trek across the street – flanked by Secret Service, cabinet members, aides