Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said in a speech that if President Donald Trump wins reelection, the violence that has rocked the nation's streets won't stop.
In a counter-message to the president's call for “law and order” in the wake of protests that have escalated, Biden accused Trump, whom he called "an incumbent president who sows chaos," of seeking to "instill fear in America," while claiming that Trump's second term would see more violence roil the nation's streets.
"Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is reelected?" Biden said during an Aug. 31 speech in Pittsburgh. "He can’t stop the violence, because, for years, he has fomented it."
Biden denounced Trump's tough-on-crime messaging as lip service and accused the president of failing "to call on his own supporters to stop acting as an armed militia in this country."
Cities across America erupted in protest after the police custody death of George Floyd, and, in many cases, then exploded into violence. Biden, in his remarks, echoed the rhetoric of other Democrats in seeking to blame Trump for the unrest, while Trump and the Republicans have highlighted the protest-related violence as examples of what the country would look like under a Biden administration.
Amid the unrest, Trump has expressed sympathy for victims of police brutality, while taking a tough "law and order" stance, expressing support for law enforcement, and vowing to protect the victims of riots, which have resulted in businesses large and small set ablaze and devastated by looting. He recently argued that Biden in the White House would undercut public safety.
"In the strongest possible terms, the Republican Party condemns the rioting, looting, arson, and violence we have seen in Democrat-run cities, all—like Kenosha, Minneapolis, Portland, Chicago, and New York, and many others—Democrat-run," Trump said.
"There’s violence and danger in the streets of many Democrat-run cities throughout America. This problem could easily be fixed if they wanted to. Just call, we’re ready to go in," he said, referring to his repeated offers to send in federal officers to help quell street violence, an offer often rejected on the premise that this would provoke an escalation.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, in an interview on NBC's Meet the Press, rejected the notion that the Trump administration was to blame for the recent unrest. He said local and state Democrat officials were responsible for the violence in Wisconsin and Oregon, after federal assistance was refused, while insisting that most of the country under Trump is safe. After a shooting left two people dead and one wounded in Kenosha, authorities accepted federal help.
“These are people that every single night conduct violent acts, and it is in Democrat cities,” Meadows said. “Most of Donald Trump's America is peaceful.
“It is a Democrat-led city in Portland that we're talking about this morning, which just yesterday denied help once again from the federal government,” Meadows said, referring to news of an incident in the city on Aug. 29 that resulted in a man being shot dead as groups of protesters clashed.
Trump, at his RNC speech, also accused Biden of seeking to cut funding to police departments, saying "the most dangerous aspect of the Biden platform is the attack on public safety."
Biden, in his Pittsburgh remarks, sought to challenge Trump's characterization of him as soft on crime.
"The senseless violence of looting, and burning, and destruction of property—I want to make it absolutely clear, something very clear about all of this—rioting is not protesting, looting is not protesting, setting fires is not protesting," he said. "None of this is protesting. It's lawlessness, plain and simple. And those that do it should be prosecuted."
"Some leftists are claiming, as they did during the Occupy Wall Street movement, that the protests have been hijacked by a violent element intent on discrediting the movement," Loudon wrote. "Conservative commentators, on the other hand, speak of frustration and rage, of a reaction to the claustrophobia of weeks on end of lockdown.
"They all miss the mark," he said. "The violence since the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis is a communist-inspired insurrection—nothing more, nothing less."