by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Joe Biden is increasingly casting the violence in cities such as Portland and Kenosha as a right-wing phenomenon stoked by President Trump, in an effort to undercut the “law and order” case against the Democratic ticket.
“I condemn this violence unequivocally. I condemn violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right. And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same,” Biden said in a statement Sunday. But in subsequent comments, such as his speech in Pittsburgh on Monday, critics say he has condemned ostensibly right-wing actors with greater specificity than left-wing activists.
The former vice president spoke of the “violence of extremists and opportunists, right-wing militias,” and “white nationalists.” Biden said of Trump, “He’s got no problem with right-wing militias, white supremacists, and vigilantes with assault weapons often better armed than the police.”
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh shot back: Biden “failed to condemn antifa. He failed to condemn people who called the police a ‘cancer’ or people on his campaign staff who called them ‘pigs.’ He failed to apologize for his campaign staff donating to a fund which bailed violent criminals out of jail in Minneapolis.”
“It will fail,” Republican strategist and former Trump 2016 campaign official Bryan Lanza said of Biden’s tactic. “We all know it’s antifa and BLM.” As the violence has continued in some cities throughout the summer, public approval of Black Lives Matter has dipped and violent crime has reemerged as a top issue in some polls.
Biden’s campaign is emphasizing clashes between Trump supporters and protesters, especially an incident in Kenosha where a 17-year-old was arrested for shooting to death two demonstrators during a physical altercation. Democrats argue that Trump is similarly selective in the violence he condemns. …