Over the weekend, Donald Trump continued his effort to blame violence in American cities on Joe Biden. #BidenRiots began trending on Twitter as the president and his media cronies argued that if Biden is elected, the violence will only continue.
The argument is completely asinine. Violence is happening under Trump’s watch, escalated by police and his supporters who are being encouraged by law enforcement and the president himself to help restore order. Trump is causing and actively stoking the violence he claims is all Biden’s fault.
It’s time for Biden to start calling bullshit.
During a speech in Pittsburgh on Monday, Biden called out the president for fomenting violence across the country. It’s among the most forceful language Biden’s used to date to confront Trump’s hatred and fear mongering. As the president tries to paint Biden as a rabid radical foaming at the mouth to abolish police, it’s exactly the response that’s needed.
Biden will say: “He may believe mouthing the words law & order makes him strong, but his failure to call on his own supporters to stop acting as an armed militia…shows you how weak he is. Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is reelected?”
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) August 31, 2020
Biden’s nowhere near a radical—he’s as conservative as Democrats get, and that’s exactly why the party elevated him. Still, it bears repeating for the people who might be enraptured by Trump’s garbage narratives or images of violence in cities—which major media outlets are far more interested in covering than the hundreds of peaceful protests going on day after day without a hitch.
Either way, Biden has been far too timid in his rhetoric against Trump. The former VP has condemned violence since early May. Plus, as recently as Sunday, he decried violence on both sides in an inverse of Trump’s infamous “very fine people on both sides” quote after the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
In a lengthy Sunday afternoon statement, Joe Biden calls "the deadly violence" in Portland "unacceptable" and says he condemns "violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right." https://t.co/HD8T35YxME
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 30, 2020
It’s not enough to condemn violence on “both sides”—especially when only one side is taking it upon itself to “restore order” and driving pickup truck caravans into cities to fire paintballs and pepper spray at protestors. Biden’s instinct to say it’s all bad is a byproduct of Democrats’ general servitude to both-sidesticism and rigid fear of alienating Republican voters. But saying that militia members inciting violence in major cities are bad isn’t remotely the same thing as saying all Republicans are bad. Anyone who is offended or confused by the difference needs to be talked to very slowly or roundly ignored.
Bad faith arguments are the basis of Trumpism and conservative media punditry in general. Right wing hacks will continue saying protestors that were shot had it coming or were doing something worse than the person who killed or maimed them. And they’ll say Biden decrying that violence and the president’s role in it is the former VP threatening violence of his own.
It’s all bullshit and Biden knows it. It’s time for him to say so.