In the first presidential debate on Tuesday, Democratic nominee Joe Biden cited FBI Director Christopher Wray in claiming that “antifa’s an idea, not an organization.” The Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) released a powerful ad exposing just how absurd Biden’s statement was, in light of the violent and deadly riots across America this summer.
“If Antifa is only an idea then who is burning down our cities, assaulting our law enforcement officers, and causing the violence we’ve seen over the last four months?” Adam Piper, RAGA’s executive director, asked in a statement.
“Biden’s remarks don’t come as a surprise to anybody who has paid attention to the Democrats’ recent rhetoric. As lives and livelihoods are being destroyed by lawless liberal mobs across the country, Democrat attorneys general are either encouraging the violence or downplaying its existence,” Piper warned. “Voters this November must hold Democrats up and down the ballot accountable for their recklessness and incitement of this violence.”
The ad begins with the damning debate footage of Joe Biden.
“I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the Left,” President Donald Trump begins.
“Antifa’s an idea, not an organization,” Biden responds.
“Oh? You gotta be kidding me,” Trump says.
Then the ad zeroes in on the destruction of the riots. As rioters burn buildings and attack police officers, text on the screen asks, “Can an idea… burn down buildings? Can an idea… commit violence?”
Rioters shout, “Death to America!” and burn the American flag.
“An idea didn’t create this anarchy. An organization did,” the text reads. “Why won’t Joe Biden condemn violent left-wing organizations?”
Then the ad powerfully concludes with Biden’s declaration, “I am the Democratic Party right now.”
While antifa and Black Lives Matter agitators have sparked riots in the name of racial justice, their lawlessness has wreaked havoc on Americans as a whole and on the black community in particular. The riots have disproportionately damaged black communities in Kenosha, Wisc., Minneapolis, and Chicago. The riots destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments. At least 26 Americans have died in the riots, most of them black.
While Biden condemned the arson and looting early on and more recently, he remained silent for months. He singled out “right-wing militias” but never condemned antifa or Black Lives Matter agitators.
The left-leaning legacy media seized on Trump’s supposed refusal to condemn white supremacists (in the moment, he said, “sure,” he would condemn them, as he had many times in the past), but Biden’s refusal to condemn antifa was far more revealing. While Trump has condemned white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan, Biden hasn’t previously condemned Black Lives Matter or antifa rioters who perpetrated so much destruction in American cities this summer.
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Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.