Analysis

New Narrative: Democrats, Media Team Up To Blame Trump For Riots

MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Shelby Talcott Media Reporter
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Media and Democrats have recently teamed up to blame President Donald Trump for country-wide riots that began following the death of George Floyd in May.

Rioting has occurred in multiple cities across America in recent weeks and months, including Minneapolis, Kenosha (Wisconsin), Washington, D.C., Portland and more. As the 2020 election nears, the rioting has continued in certain cities, naturally making it a hot topic for both media and politicians – many of whom have put the blame on Trump.

CNN’s Don Lemon called for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to stop ignoring the rioting in August, adding that Biden should suggest the incidents are due to Trump.

“He’s [Biden] got to come out and talk about it. He’s got to do a speech like [former President] Barack Obama did about race,” Lemon said. “He’s got to come out and tell people that he is going to deal with the issue of police reform in this country.”

“And that what’s happening now is happening under Donald Trump’s watch – on Donald Trump’s watch. And when he is the president, [Democratic California Sen.] Kamala Harris is the vice president, then they will take care of the problem. But guess what, the rioting has to stop.”

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Lemon pushed the importance of blaming Trump and calling out rioting because it is “showing up in the polling” and “focus groups.” His comments came after Biden urged the unrest to stop in May, although at that time Biden did not blame Trump.

“We must not allow this pain to destroy us,” Biden said May 30, just after a Minneapolis police officer was charged in regards to Floyd’s death.

He added that the protests are “right and necessary” and “an utterly American response” but condemned “needless destruction.” (RELATED: President Trump Says He Wants His Supporters To Stay Out Of Protests, Let Police Do Their Job)

Shortly after Lemon’s segment, the former vice president issued a second statement. In this statement, issued Monday, Biden accused Trump of continuing “to insist on fanning the flames of hate and division in our society and using the politics of fear to whip up his supporters.”

“He is recklessly encouraging violence,” Biden added. “He may believe tweeting about law and order makes him strong – but his failure to call on his supporters to stop seeking conflict shows just how weak he is. He may think that war in our streets is good for his reelection chances, but that is not presidential leadership–or even basic human compassion.”

“Donald Trump has been president for almost four years,” he continued. “The temperature in the country is higher, tensions run stronger, divisions run deeper. And all of us are less safe because Donald Trump can’t do the job of the American president.”

A new Biden advertisement also blamed Trump for rioting, declaring that the president “adds fuel to every fire.”

“Rioting is not protesting,” Biden said during the advertisement as images of unrest flashed on the screen. “Looting is not protesting. It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted. Fires are burning and we have a president who fans the flames. He can’t stop the violence because for years he’s fomented it.”

Lemon praised Biden for blaming Trump after the former vice president’s second statement, saying he put Trump “on his heels.”

“We need to hear our leaders denouncing the violence in our streets,” Lemon said. “Denouncing it. We need to hear them tell us the truth that rioting divides instead of unites. But this president can’t say that. He cannot denounce the violence. He just cannot. He cannot admit that it divides instead of unites… Election Day is just 63 days away. He’s desperate and he desperately needs to change the subject.”

Other media personalities and Democrats have pushed the blame on Trump for riots, too.

CNN analyst April Ryan suggested that the International Criminal Court (ICC) should prosecute Trump, whom she alleged “instigated a race war.”

“This president, Donald John Trump, has instigated a race war in America,” Ryan said Sunday on “CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera.”

Portland, Oregon, is ground zero. This president has basically stoked the flames for racist extremists, Neo Nazis and the alt-right,” Ryan continued.This president is even defending Kyle Rittenhouse, who went to Wisconsin and killed two protesters. At the end of the day, the mayor of Portland is absolutely right. There is a race war right now because of this president.”

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Democratic House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff also blamed the president for violence August 30. The comments came during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“The president is willfully fanning the flames of this fire,” Schiff said, according to The Hill. “They [Trump’s allies] believe this is helpful to him.”

“The president is only motivated by one thing: what is in it for him,” Schiff continued. “He sees this violence and his ability to agitate more of it as useful to this campaign. What it does to the country, the loss of life, he doesn’t care.”

Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, attacked Trump, accusing him of “inciting violence,” according to The Federalist.

“Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence?” Democratic Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said Sunday. “It’s you who have created the hate and the division. It’s you who have not found a way to say the names of black people people killed by police officers even as people in law enforcement have, and it’s you who claimed that white supremacists are good people.”

In response, Democratic strategist Mo Elleithee defended those who have been blaming Trump during a segment with Fox News guest-anchor John Roberts, who asked how the president is responsible for rioting in Portland.

“Look, what we saw in Portland weeks ago was a president who sent in federal officials, who did confront the peaceful protesters,” Elleithee responded after a pause.

Roberts noted that the federal officials are “long gone” and Elleithee continued on to say “that the president has used rhetoric that endorses one side while not necessarily the other.” (RELATED: Democrats Blamed The Feds For Violence In Portland. But The Chaos Continued Even After They Pulled Back)

“He has sent in officials that have exacerbated the situation at times,” Elleithee said.

Trump has on some occasions issued harsh statements against rioters, calling them “thugs” and vowing to act if local officials were unable to calm violence in their cities. Authorities have been unable to contain rioting in Washington, D.C., with unrest in front of the White House continuing on and off for months.

Despite ongoing protests in opposition to Trump’s comments, some pushed back on blaming the president for rioting. One op-ed in The Washington Post noted that “Biden can’t blame Trump for the anarchy in Democrat-run cities.”