The violent acts that have been staged by "opportunistic thugs" who decided that now is the time to riot and engage in mayhem are "completely unacceptable and cannot be tolerated," Sen. Pat Toomey said Wednesday.
"Any American who saw the video of George Floyd's death was sickened by it as I was," the Pennsylvania Republican told Fox Business' Maria Baritromo. "People have every right to protest, provided the protests are peaceful."
But instead, too many elected officials decided the protests needed room, when "what you need to do is nip that kind of violence in the bud," said Toomey, adding that as more resources are being deployed, hopefully the tide is turning on the violent acts.
Meanwhile, he rejected the idea that there is systemic racism in the nation's police departments.
"The fact is the police are the solution," said Toomey. "They've got to be used and used properly so we can restore law and order. That is the government's first obligation."
Toomey added that he does think some of President Donald Trump's tweets about the protests "could have been different."
"I'm not his tweet editor," said Toomey. "That's not the problem here. The problem here are these bandits, criminals, who have seized an opportunity to wreak havoc. That can't be tolerated."
The senator also stressed the importance of Americans returning to work, and said he's concerned about the effects of the protests and looting on economic recovery.
Toomey also said that he does not think the nation needs another coronavirus relief package, despite the continuing economic damages.
"Maybe a month from now we'll see that there are some serious needs that still are unmet but, boy, we've done an awful lot," he said. "We've replaced the vast majority of lost income for people, for low income workers we've actually more than replaced their lost income. Demand is going to be there. It's a matter of being able to open up safely."
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