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In Leaked Call With Trump, SC Gov. McMaster Claims Protesters Are Paid

Henry McMaster
South Carolina ETV
Henry McMaster

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is facing questions for clarification of comments he made on a recent phone call between President Trump and the nation’s governors. McMaster can be heard on the leaked phone call saying protesters were paid, and that protesters should be “dominated.”

In the call with President Trump and other governors, leaked to the Washington Post on Monday, McMaster said protesters were accepting punishments of 30 days in jail or $500 as the quote “cost of doing business.” He also said some people were being paid to protest.

McMaster's comments came near the end of the nearly hour-long call.

"Now’s really the time to get serious about prosecuting these people," McMaster said. "Finding out where their organizations are, who’s paying the money. We even hear that some of them get a bonus if they get arrested. They were putting up their hands to get arrested."

The governor’s office has said McMaster’s claims came from anecdotes he heard in private conversations. McMaster's comments on "dominating protesters" mirrored President Trump's recent tweets, where he said law enforcement needed to "dominate" protestors. The governor's office said McMaster's comments on dominating protesters was in reference to those who have become violent at protests around the country, not about peaceful protesters.

You can listen to the full call between Trump and governors. McMaster's comments start at the 46:42 mark. (Audio via The Washington Post)


Michael Falero is a radio reporter, currently covering voting and the 2020 election. He previously covered environment and energy for WFAE. Before joining WFAE in 2019, Michael worked as a producer for a number of local news podcasts based in Charlotte and Boston. He's a graduate of the Transom Story Workshop intensive on Cape Cod and UNC Chapel Hill.