Rep. Val Demings says President Trump was 'walking around with a gasoline can' while 'America was on fire' during civil unrest
Summary List PlacementDemocratic Rep. Val Demings of Florida slammed President Donald Trump for his response to widespread, ongoing racial-justice demonstrations on Sunday, arguing that he has fueled tensions rather than trying to bring the country together. "While America was going through civil unrest in all 50 states, quite frankly, America was on fire, we had a president — a commander-in-chief — who was walking around with a gasoline can," Demings said during a Sunday interview on ABC's This Week.
“While America was going through civil unrest in all 50 states, quite frankly, America was on fire, we had a president — a commander-in-chief — who was walking around with a gasoline can,” Rep. Val Demings tells @MarthaRaddatz about Pres. Trump’s rhetoric. https://t.co/LUK4OPSI7P pic.twitter.com/ocRFj2PX8w — ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 6, 2020
Demings' scathing comments were in response to a question about how Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have responded to the mostly peaceful protests. Host Martha Raddatz cited a new ABC-Ipsos poll, which concluded that 55% of Americans believe that Trump's rhetoric surrounding the protests has made things worse, while 49% said that Biden hasn't had an effect one way or the other. "President Donald John Trump is the commander-in-chief, and so the buck stops with him," Demings said, adding that Trump was "not trying to sow peace and calm, but actually throwing fire onto an already volatile situation." Demings' comments came after violence at racial-justice protests has escalated in recent weeks. Police have accused 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse of shooting three and killing two people during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25. On August 30, a man was shot dead in Portland as Black Lives Matter protesters clashed with pro-Trump ralliers. Many have accused Trump of playing a part in the violence by emboldening his supporters to physically attack protesters. Shortly after George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody on May 25 sparked massive protests across the country, Trump tweeted "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," which he later denied was a call to violence. Trump was also widely criticized for inviting Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who pointed guns at protestors during demonstrations in St. Louis, to speak at the Republican National Convention late last month. The convention saw Trump and his allies tout a "law and order" message, and even use stock video and pictures of protests to warn attendees about presidential hopeful "Biden's America." "What we're currently seeing in our country is not sustainable," Demings continued. "And it's really time to start moving from what we're seeing in the streets, I believe, to roundtable discussions ... to start putting into place plans of action that can get us back on track."SEE ALSO: Trump hired Obama lookalike he 'ritualistically belittled' and fired in video stunt, says Michael Cohen in new book Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why American sunscreens may not be protecting you as much as European sunscreens
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Trump and Biden to give speeches as conflicts over protests intensifyTrump blames racism in policing on...Trump and Biden to give speeches as conflicts over protests intensifyTrump blames racism in policing on ‘bad apples’ during Kenosha visitNancy Pelosi in face covering row after salon visitMost Democrats fear Trump could reject election defeat, poll showsSign up for our First Thing newsletter 4.35pm BST During his trip to Kenosha tomorrow, Joe Biden will likely try to draw a direct contrast to Trump’s visit to the Wisconsin city yesterday.While visiting Kenosha, the president toured property that was damaged amid protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, and he thanked local law enforcement officials for their response to the protests. 4.23pm BST Joe Biden’s trip to Kenosha tomorrow will represent the Democratic nominee’s first visit to the swing state of Wisconsin since 2018.Trump carried Wisconsin by less than 1 point in 2016, after Democrat Hillary Clinton made few campaign appearances in the state. Republicans have been eager to criticize Democrats for that severe misstep. Continue reading...
Trump thinks violence and chaos on the streets is good for his reelection, and he's not trying to hide it
President Donald Trump is actively working to incite violence and chaos in American cities, hoping he...President Donald Trump is actively working to incite violence and chaos in American cities, hoping he can carry himself to a reelection victory on a "law and order" platform. Trump on Sunday took to Twitter to decry anti-racism protesters and praise a caravan of his supporters who rode into Portland after deadly violence followed clashes between the groups. Biden has fervently condemned the recent violence while Trump expresses explicit support for one group over others, and paints all protesters as destructive anarchists. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. President Donald Trump is making no effort to hide the fact he believes that violence and chaos on the streets of American cities will boost his reelection prospects. Trump is using his Twitter account to incite violence and fuel divisions across the country, perpetuating an "us vs. them" mentality among his supporters. After deadly violence in Portland on Saturday following clashes between Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter protesters, the president took to Twitter to bash the city's mayor and decry the anti-racism protesters. "The big backlash going on in Portland cannot be unexpected after 95 days of watching and incompetent Mayor admit that he has no idea what he is doing," Trump said in a tweet. "The people of Portland won't put up with no safety any longer. The Mayor is a FOOL. Bring in the National Guard!" "The only way you will stop the violence in the high crime Democrat run cities is through strength!" Trump, who controversially sent federal agents into Portland in response to the protests earlier this summer, said in another tweet. Trump praised the large group of his supporters who drove into Portland in a caravan to confront protesters, hailing them as "GREAT PATRIOTS." The man who was shot and killed in Portland was reportedly affiliated with Patriot Prayer, a far right group. As Trump praised the caravan of his supporters who rode into Portland, the president in separate tweet characterized protesters in Washington, DC, as "Disgraceful Anarchists." The violence in Portland over the weekend came a week after the police in Kenosha, Wisconsin shot Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, seven times in the back. Some of the peaceful protests in the following days turned violent as people looted and defaced nearby businesses. Armed citizens took to the streets in response to the demonstrations, which has fatal results. Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, has been accused of opening fire during a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha and killing two people in the process. Trump on Sunday liked a tweet that spoke positively of Rittenhouse. "Kyle Rittenhouse is a good example of why I decided to vote for Trump," the tweet said. The president has given a platform to conspiracy theorists, including those who claim ongoing anti-racism demonstrations represent a "coup attempt" against Trump, and people who've threatened protesters exercising their First Amendment rights with violence. Experts on authoritarianism and fascism have warned that Trump's behavior bears unsettling parallels to autocratic leaders of both the past and present. "Trumpism is something akin to a fascist social and political movement," Jason Stanley, author of "How Fascism Works," told CNN on Sunday. "We've got militias roaming the street. We have one of our political parties turning into a cult of the leader." The president is moving ahead with a visit to Kenosha on Tuesday, despite the fact local leaders have made it clear they don't want him there. "I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing. I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together," Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, wrote in a letter to Trump. The Kenosha shooting came just one night after a St. Louis couple who made headlines for pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters earlier this summer spoke at the Republican National Convention. Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the gun-toting couple, in their remarks for the GOP convention said Democrats "are not satisfied with spreading the chaos and violence into our communities" and want to "abolish the suburbs all together." Trump and his allies have repeatedly pushed the false narrative that US cities led by Democrats are consumed by crime and destruction amid nationwide protests against racism and police brutality. While there has been rioting and violence on the fringes of these demonstrations, they've primarily been peaceful and Trump's rhetoric on this is at odds with reality. Crime in the US remains historically low. The president is trying to convince white, suburban voters that they're in danger of being overrun by anarchists if he loses the election, so he's going full-steam ahead with painting former Vice President Joe Biden as weak on crime and unwilling to condemn violence. Meanwhile, Trump trails Biden in the polls. 'Rioting is not protesting' Biden has a fairly hardline record when it comes to crime, which is part of the reason he's not particularly popular with the progressive wing of the Democratic party, and he's taken to the campaign trail to forcefully decry recent incidents of violence. "Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting ... And those who do it should be prosecuted," Biden said in Pittsburgh on Monday, during a speech in which he also condemned "unwarranted police shootings." The Democratic presidential nominee also slammed the president for his "failure to call on his own supporters to stop acting as an armed militia." Biden: "Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting... it's lawlessness, plain & simple... violence will not bring change. It will only bring destruction... this POTUS long ago forfeited any moral leadership. He cannot stop the violence b/c for years he has fomented it." pic.twitter.com/6fWRemMnld — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 31, 2020 To Biden's point, the White House has openly stated that "violence and chaos" is good for Trump and his "law and order" messaging. "The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who's best on public safety and law and order," White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said during an interview on "Fox and Friends" last week. By fueling violence and disarray, Trump also distracts from his disastrous response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The US has the highest number of cases and fatalities from the virus in the world, and the outbreak has left millions unemployed. Trump is trying to divert attention away from this by perpetuating culture wars.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
Trump hopes violence at protests will generate a backlash against Democrats; opponents accuse him of inciting...Trump hopes violence at protests will generate a backlash against Democrats; opponents accuse him of inciting more violence with his rhetoric.