The first signs of worry emerged early Monday as some opponents of Trump, surveying the damage after a weekend of nationwide riots, began to worry openly if supporting “peaceful protests” in Portland, Oregon, would hurt Democrats.
Led by former Vice President Joe Biden, Democrats have insisted that the riots targeting a federal courthouse and federal law enforcement officers in Portland are actually “peaceful.” They have been supported by media that downplays violence committed by the “protesters” and highlights anything the officers do to defend themselves or to disperse the crowd. The Democrats have also demonized federal law enforcement for merely doing what local authorities have refused to do.
Last week, Biden accused federal law enforcement of “brutally attacking peaceful protesters” in Portland. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called the officers “stormtroopers” and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) called them “Gestapo.” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that the demonstrators “represent the best of our democratic ideals.”
But after a weekend of violence across the nation in “solidarity” with Portland, some Democrats are thinking twice.
Lanny Davis, the close Clinton ally who urged long ago, that President Donald Trump be removed from office, tweeted: “Violent protesters lighting fires and using violence in Portland should wear @realDonaldTrump buttons. That is who they are helping.Progressives in Portland need to call them out, including the Mayor. ReTweet please. Don’t allow violent people help @realDonaldTrump.”
Violent protesters lighting fires and using violence in Portland should wear @realDonaldTrump buttons. That is who they are helping.Progressives in Portland need to call them out, including the Mayor. ReTweet please. Don’t allow violent people help @realDonaldTrump
— Lanny Davis (@LannyDavis) July 27, 2020
Joe Scarborough, the MSNBC host who was once a Republican congressman and friend of Trump, but has since emerged as a vehement opponent of the president, tweeted: “How does breaking windows at a courthouse, setting fire to a federal building, firing guns in crowds, and committing acts of vandalism forward any cause? Actually, don’t bother because there is no good answer. It is self-destructive to any cause you promote.”
And House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) tried to deny Sunday that the Portland demonstrations were violent at all — perhaps realizing the political damage that the violence might imply:
I ran into Jerry Nadler in DC and asked him to disavow the Antifa violence/rioting in Portland.
“THATS A MYTH” pic.twitter.com/veImyE2rju
— Essential Fleccas 🇺🇸 (@fleccas) July 27, 2020
The media have typically taken the protesters’ “peaceful” pretensions at face value, despite glaring evidence to the contrary. The Associated Press has described the Portland riots as “racial injustice” protests.
But on Monday, the Associated Press took the rare step of publishing an account that included the federal officers’ point of view, noting that they were being constantly targeted inside the courthouse by laser beams, fireworks, and ball bearings.
As public awareness of the true nature of the “peaceful protests” seeps to the surface, Democrats may begin backtracking on their support for the demonstrations. The question is whether Americans will find such denials credible after so long.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.