On Friday, the Joe Biden campaign released an ad essentially blaming President Donald Trump for the violent riots in American cities. The campaign aimed to reverse Trump’s claim that “no one will be safe in Biden’s America,” suggesting people aren’t safe in Trump’s America thanks to the president’s alleged incitement of violence. Democrats started tweeting with the hashtag “Trump Violence” to push this message, despite the fact that far-left agitators with Black Lives Matter and antifa have engaged in rioting, looting, and arson for the past three months and Democrats refused to condemn it.
“The President incites violence, inspires white-supremacist shooters, and his failed COVID response is costing thousands of lives per day,” Biden himself tweeted. “When you look at the world right now, ask yourself: Do you feel safe in Trump’s America?”
Biden ad condemns Trump’s America
The Democratic nominee shared his campaign’s latest ad. The ad intersperses the president’s words with statements blaming the president for racism and violence.
“This election will decide whether we save the American Dream,” Trump says. Then the ad declares, “This is Donald Trump’s America,” pivoting to show the white nationalists marching in Charlottesville in 2017.
As the ad shows footage of white nationalists in Charlottesville, it superimposes Trump’s voice: “We must never allow mob rule.” The ad suggests that Trump is responsible for “Racist Mobs” chanting, “Jews will not replace us!”
Then the ad turns to the case of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old boy who shot three rioters in Kenosha, Wisc. “A 17 year-old being held on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide,” the ad notes, failing to mention the fact that it seems Rittenhouse opened fire in self-defense after having helped give medical aid to rioters (even though he arguably should not have gone up to Kenosha in the first place).
The ad then plays Trump’s words condemning Democrats for giving “free reign to violent anarchists and criminals,” before turning to discuss the El Paso shooting in August 2019. “WHITE SUPREMACIST MASS SHOOTERS” blares across the screen. The ad does not mention the fact that Trump condemned the shooter and the “racist hate” and white supremacy he represented, nor that the shooter rightly faces capital murder charges and the FBI (under Trump) is investigating the shooting as domestic terrorism and a hate crime. The president certainly did not give “free reign” to the El Paso shooter.
Next, the ad plays Trump’s words declaring, “We must always have law and order” with the message “A PRESIDENT ENFLAMING VIOLENCE” and scenes from law enforcement clearing out Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., before Trump walked to St. John’s Episcopal Church, which rioters had lit on fire.
The ad also slams “a St. Louis couple brandishing firearms against protestors,” with no mention of the violence of Black Lives Matter riots.
Finally, the ad attacks Trump for the coronavirus pandemic and the economic downturn in the wake of the lockdowns. It concludes with the president’s words, “No one will be safe in Biden’s America.”
“But do you feel safe in his?” the ad asks.
The President incites violence, inspires white-supremacist shooters, and his failed COVID response is costing thousands of lives per day. When you look at the world right now, ask yourself: Do you feel safe in Trump’s America? pic.twitter.com/Ztp6TdSwKk
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 28, 2020
Biden backers make “#TrumpViolence” trend on Twitter
Fred Guttenberg, a gun control activist whose daughter Jamie was brutally murdered in the Parkland shooting in 2018, pushed the hashtag “#TrumpViolence.”
“Hope everyone retweets this with the #TrumpViolence [hashtag]. This add from the Biden campaign is [fire],” Guttenberg tweeted. “This is Trumps America. I am voting for [Joe Biden] to save our democracy and to end the #TrumpViolence.”
Hope everyone retweets this with the #TrumpViolence
This add from the Biden campaign is 🔥🔥🔥
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) August 28, 2020
Actor Kirk Acevedo responded to Guttenberg saying, “[Trump violence] will destroy America and the world unless we vote him out!”
— kirk acevedo (@kirkacevedo) August 28, 2020
Donald Trump Jr. quoted Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) speaking about the Washington, D.C., mob threatening his safety as he left the White House after the Republican National Convention: “It’s become so dangerous for us. And I don’t hear Joe Biden or Kamala Harris saying one thing about the violence. This mob is their voters. This is the new Democratic Party. And if we don’t resist this, the United States is going to become Portland.”
Regina Marston, a Democratic candidate for Congress in California, attempted to gaslight America, blaming Republicans for violence and suggesting that Trump was the one doing the gaslighting. “[Trump violence] led Kyle Rittenhouse & his mother [to] drive from IL to WI to murder two innocent protesters. [Sen.] Rand Paul staged his ‘attack.’ This narrative comes straight from Hitler’s playbook, which Trump used to have on his nightstand,” she tweeted.
#TrumpViolence led Kyle Rittenhouse & his mother drive from IL to WI to murder two innocent protesters. Rand Paul staged his "attack." This narrative comes straight from Hitler's playbook, which Trump used to have on his nightstand. #VoteBidenHarrisToSaveAmerica2020 https://t.co/6q7Ejt9pA3
— Regina Marston for Congress – CA 42 in 2022 (@Marston4ca42) August 29, 2020
Nice try, but…
“Walk Away” founder Brandon Straka addressed the “#TrumpViolence” narrative, noting that “this is perhaps [Democrats’] most audacious attempt at gaslighting yet. We’ve ALL watched the democrat violence for OVER THREE MONTHS. We’ve all watched the media enable it. We’ve watched Dems glorify it. Now they’re trying to blame US for it. These are abusers.”
#TrumpViolence trending. This is perhaps their most audacious attempt at gaslighting yet.
We’ve ALL watched the democrat violence for OVER THREE MONTHS. We’ve all watched the media enable it. We’ve watched Dems glorify it. Now they’re trying to blame US for it. These are abusers.
— Brandon Straka (@BrandonStraka) August 29, 2020
Carmine Sabia noted that the violent Black Lives Matter riots have broken out in cities run by Democratic politicians. “Yeah [Trump Violence] but somehow only in Democrat cities whose mayors will not take the help of the federal government. People have eyes and ears and are not that gullible. Democrats you own this,” he tweeted.
Yeah #TrumpViolence but somehow only in Democrat cities whose mayors will not take the help of the federal government. People have eyes and ears and are not that gullible. Democrats you own this. https://t.co/tiOI9pDqqv
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) August 29, 2020
Contrary to Biden’s protestations, Democrats — not Trump — do indeed own the violent riots. Antifa and Black Lives Matter have instigated violence in the name of racial justice, and Democrats repeatedly turned a blind eye when peaceful protests devolved into looting, vandalism, and arson. Democrats expressed sympathy with the rioters’ aims while refusing to condemn the violence. Only recently, when it became clear that the riots aren’t polling well in middle America, did they abruptly reverse course — and even then, they are still trying to blame Trump.
As riots in Portland continued for nearly a month, President Trump increased the presence of federal law enforcement protecing the federal courthouse in that city. In July, Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) himself joined the rioters. After federal law enforcement used tear gas in response to the crowd attempting to burn down the building, the mayor insisted that the use of tear gas was completely unprovoked, even though rioters standing feet from Wheeler in the crowd had thrown explosives at the building.
‘Like a Scene Out of Hell’: Armed BLM Rioters Loot, Pillage, and Burn Kenosha Following Police Shooting
Wheeler later condemned the violent riots, but this week he again refused President Trump’s offer to send federal law enforcement to help restore law and order, suggesting that federal officers would bring violence — as if there were no violence in Portland already.
Biden, who finally condemned the riots this week, after almost 90 nights of violent riots in Portland, initially attacked Trump for sending officers who were “brutally attacking peaceful protesters.” Biden made no mention of the rioters’ violent attacks, which included setting the federal courthouse and the police union on fire, aiming mortar fireworks into the courthouse windows and at officers, dumping feces into a police building and throwing feces at police protecting a precinct, and shining lasers into officers’ eyes, causing days of blindness.
This week, Biden finally attacked the rioters. “Protesting brutality is a right and absolutely necessary. But burning down communities is not protest — it’s needless violence, violence that endangers lives, violence that guts businesses and shutters businesses that serve the community. That’s wrong,” he said. This condemnation came far too late, however.
Even as Biden belatedly condemned the violence, his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) encouraged the protests that enable the violent riots, saying they will not stop even after Election Day.
“They’re not gonna stop. They’re not gonna stop,” Harris told Stephen Colbert. “That’s..this is a movement, I’m telling you. They’re not gonna stop. And, and, and everyone beware. Because…they’re not gonna stop before Election Day in November, they’re not gonna stop after Election Day. And that should be…everyone should take note of that. On both levels. That they’re not gonna let up. And they should not.”
“And we should not,” Harris added.
Democrats cannot uniformly condemn the violent riots because they agree with the radical activists behind the violence. Antifa and the Marxist official Black Lives Matter organization form part of the Democrats’ base. Biden claims to be a moderate, but the radicals have driven him ever further to the left, forcing him to craft a “unity platform” with avowed socialists like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
When Biden and other Democrats claim Trump is responsible for the violence, they are engaging in shameless projection and gaslighting. Trump’s response to the rioting has not been perfect, but he has championed law and order while the Democrats covered for the riots. Let’s hope Americans can see through the gaslighting.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.