After months of trying to spin the nationwide unrest as ‘mostly peaceful’ or ignoring it entirely, Democrats have discovered some fresh messaging: the riots are violent and they’re Trump’s fault.
Joe Biden seized on this new storyline during a campaign speech in Pittsburgh on Monday, telling voters that Trump is ‘stoking violence in our cities.’
‘This president long ago forfeited any moral leadership in this country. He can’t stop the violence — because for years he has fomented it,’ Biden asserted.
This is one of the most dastardly and dishonest schemes the Democrats have ever cooked up. Remember, the series of protests across the country — which often turned violent after nightfall — started in Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. They were ostensibly about police misconduct and gave rise to the ‘Defund the Police’ movement. In Atlanta, rioters burned a Wendy’s after police shot Rayshard Brooks in the parking lot. People destroyed businesses in Kenosha after the shooting of Jacob Blake. Protesters and rioters may have turned their sights on Trump because they view him as the leader of a broken system, but he certainly wasn’t the impetus for their rage.
To hear Democrats recap the riots, however, they were peaceful until white supremacist Trump supporters got involved. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler called antifa violence in Portland a ‘myth’ when approached about the subject in June. Mayor Muriel Bowser bragged in her Democratic National Convention speech about creating ‘Black Lives Matter Plaza’ in Washington, DC for the protesters, but did not mention some of those protesters torched the historic St John’s church outside of the White House. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan described her city’s ‘autonomous zone’, which was forcibly taken over by armed protesters and where a black teenager would later be shot dead, as a ‘block party atmosphere’. Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to the toppling of a statue of Christopher Columbus by giving a wave of her hand: ‘people will do what they do’. Rep. Ayanna Pressley went several steps further than her peers, encouraging ‘unrest in the streets’ during an MSNBC interview in August. No one blamed her for the Americans who were pulled out of their cars and pummeled for daring to drive on streets blocked by protesters.
Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, promoted a bail fund intended for protesters in Minnesota. This would be disturbing enough considering the level of violence propagated by many of those protesters, but it’s even worse when you look at the other individuals who received those funds. One went on to assault a bar owner who was left with a traumatic brain injury after his release, another was charged with stabbing a friend for refusing sex, a third was charged with sexual assault and kidnapping, and a fourth charged with shooting at police.
Biden denounced looting and rioting during a speech on June 2, but simultaneously blamed Trump and the police for escalating tensions. It was as absurd a statement then as it is now. Trump repeatedly offered federal assistance to governors and mayors as their cities were burned and looted. Biden must be in favor of allowing such violence to continue if he decries quelling rioting and restoring order as ‘escalation’. The Democrats in charge of those cities must have the same mindset, as many repeatedly declined the President’s offer of help. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler wrote in a letter to Trump on August 28, ‘We don’t need your politics of division and demagoguery… When you sent the Feds to Portland last month, you made the situation far worse.’ The following night, weeks after federal troops left the area, a Trump supporter was shot by a member of antifa. On Monday night, protesters looted stores and set fires near Wheeler’s condo building. The consequences of allowing the riots to continue unabated are clear: homicide rates in 27 major American cities were up 21 percent in aggregate from May to June.
It wasn’t until late August, after months of civil unrest that showed little sign of slowing, that local residents began arming themselves in a bid to defend their properties from destruction. This was a response to violence, not the creation of it. Citizens who watched as police around the country were told to stand down or were chased and burned out of their own precincts cannot be blamed for taking matters into their own hands when the state has failed them. Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who was used as proof that Trump was aiding and abetting violent right-wingers, claims he was protecting a local business when he was chased and attacked by rioters who tried to take his weapon.
So why, after months of his fellow party members denying and downplaying the summer of violence, did Biden unleash a speech in a swing state placing the blame squarely on Trump? Well, the polls are no longer in the Democrats’ favor. Support for Black Lives Matter has plummeted in swing states. Biden is underperforming when compared to Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Even Minnesota looks like it could be in play for Trump. These are all states where high turnout in rural and suburban areas — whose residents likely fear riots coming to their streets — could hand the election to Trump. The Biden campaign has presumably seen this trend and realized that allowing Trump to set the tone on being anti-violence is a losing strategy.
Cue Biden asking people if they feel safer under Trump and portending ominously, ‘Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is reelected?’ Does that count as escalation? Because it sure sounds like a threat.
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