On Monday, Democratic nominee Joe Biden blamed President Donald Trump for the deadly shooting of Trump supporter Aaron Danielson, claiming that Trump inspired the climate of anger ultimately responsible for the riots and for Danielson’s death. Trump responded with a powerful rebuke, noting that Biden did not once mention antifa, the far-left agitators behind the riots. In fact, the president argued that Biden has “given moral aid and comfort” to the rioters by repeating the tired line that the deadly and destructive riots are merely “peaceful protests.”
“For months, Joe Biden has given moral aid and comfort to the vandals repeating the monstrous lie that these were peaceful protests,” the president declared. “They’re not peaceful protests. That’s anarchy. That’s — you look at the agitators, you look at the looters, you look at the rioters — that’s not a peaceful protest.”
“They keep using the term — it’s so nice — ‘peaceful protest,’ and behind the reporter, the cities are burning,” Trump added.
Send in the National Guard
He argued, “We could solve it very quickly if they ask us to come in, like we did in Minneapolis and like we just did in Wisconsin, where I’ll be going tomorrow. And at least the governor asked me if I could, we would — I said, ‘You got to get the National Guard.’ And he finally agreed to even a small number, but they were able to take care of things, and that was about five days ago, six days ago. And ever since, it’s been very good.”
Indeed, after Gov. Tony Evers (D-Wisc.) finally asked Trump to send in the National Guard following two deadly shootings last week, the show of force worked and the violent looting and arson subsided in Kenosha.
Mayor Ted Wheeler (D-Portland) has repeatedly refused Trump’s offer to sent in the National Guard to bring peace to the streets of Portland. Like Biden, Wheeler blamed Trump for Danielson’s death, suggesting that the president’s divisive rhetoric is ultimately responsible and ignoring the antifa affiliation of the reported shooter, Michael Forest Reinoehl.
Biden didn’t mention antifa
In Biden’s remarks on the shooting, he did not once mention antifa or the self-identified Marxists who lead the official Black Lives Matter movement. Trump noted that Biden “didn’t mention the far Left, or, from what I saw, I don’t believe he even mentioned the word ‘antifa.’ Antifa is a criminal organization, and he didn’t mention antifa thugs, but mostly seemed to blame the police and law enforcement.”
“He went on point after point after point,” Trump noted. “He even talked about those on the Right [whom Biden called “right-wing militias”], but he didn’t talk about those on the Left. And those on the Left are the problem, and antifa is the problem. The rioters and Joe Biden have a side: They’re both on the side of the radical Left, and that is so obvious.”
While Biden is not nearly as radical as antifa and Black Lives Matter, he has sidled up to far-left leaders like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), whose fellow squad member Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) called for the “dismantling” of America’s “economy and political system” in order to root out supposed racist oppression.
Trump also noted the direct connection between Biden’s campaign and the rioters. “Thirteen members of Biden’s campaign staff donated to bail and — rioters — they’re getting them out of jail. Looters — they got them out of jail. And his running mate, Kamala [Harris], urged their supporters to do the same thing. It’s outrageous that they’re now seeking to shift the blame for the mayhem,” the president said.
Trump pledged to stand up to the anarchy and violence. “We must strictly and fully enforce our law and have no tolerance for anarchy and no tolerance — zero — for violence. Anyone who breaks the law should be arrested, prosecuted, and punished. This includes targeting law enforcement efforts to focus on antifa, the left-wing domestic terror organization.”
“The mission of antifa is to spread terror in the U.S. population with a goal of getting Americans to give up to their agenda. This is how terrorist organizations have always operated,” he warned. Yet “Biden won’t even say the name ‘antifa.'”
“In fact, Biden would give antifa exactly what it wants: the far-left policy agenda it’s asking for. And if that happened, we don’t have much of a country left. If you give violent extremists what they want, the violence doesn’t go away; they gain new power to spread the terror nationwide,” the president warned.
“Biden’s strategy is to surrender to the left-wing mob,” Trump said. “But when you surrender to the mob, you don’t get freedom; you get fascism. That’s what happens in all cases. You take a look at Venezuela. Look what — look what’s going on there and other places.”
Wait, isn’t Biden a “moderate?”
Biden campaigned as a moderate, but after the primary, he lurched to the left, embracing many of the radical policies he initially campaigned against. Trump was engaging in hyperbole when he said Biden would give antifa “exactly what it wants,” but he wasn’t wrong to suggest an overall alignment between antifa’s radical desires and the Democrat’s suggestion that the coronavirus crisis is an “opportunity” for broad “structural change.”
Left-leaning journalists and Democrats have insisted, over and over again, that the riots are “mostly peaceful protests.” As Trump noted, this gives “moral aid and comfort” to the rioters, even though the riots have destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments. At least 22 Americans have died in the riots, most of them black.
Many protesters have indeed been peaceful, but when people continue to demonstrate while knowing that the crowd they join will later go on to burn down buildings, attack police with commercial-grade fireworks, and loot stores at random, at what point do they become culpable in enabling such violence? Even Mayor Wheeler urged peaceful citizens to avoid protests that are likely to devolve into riots.
Andy Ngo, editor-at-large at The Post Millennial, warned that antifa routinely uses protests as a shield for their violent rioting. At antifa events, “hundreds of so-called protesters work together” and “both violent and non-violent participants play a role,” with the non-violent acting as “human shields,” Ngo testified.
Peaceful protests are an important part of the American system, but repeatedly lying to the American people by miscategorizing violent and destructive riots as “peaceful protests” is beyond the pale, and Trump was right to call Biden out on it.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.