The general rule of thumb for 2020 is to look at who is amplifying what before you freak out. There are foreign operatives and MAGA operatives on social media, spreading certain narratives, amplifying certain half-truths or blatantly lying about everything involving Black Lives Matter, the ongoing protests, the victims of violent cops and on and on. This weekend was full of all kinds of bullsh-t. Trump supporters must have heard on all of their Nazi Facebook groups that they needed to arm themselves with paint ball guns and pepper spray and go head-to-head with social justice protesters in various cities. This kind of thing has been happening for months already – the “outside agitators” are more often than not the white supremacists and violent MAGA types looking to cause issues. And, no surprise, they’re being actively incited by Donald Trump.
For the second time in a tumultuous week, demonstrations in an American city escalated into gunfire—and death. Clashes between Donald Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter protesters intensified on Saturday in Portland, Oregon, where a man was shot and killed. According to the New York Times, a caravan of several hundred trucks full of Trump supporters headed to downtown Portland, where demonstrators have gathered to protest police violence for more than 90 consecutive nights in response to the May killing of George Floyd. Confrontations between those participating in the pro-Trump rally and those countering it quickly ensued, with the president’s supporters firing paintball guns and pepper spray at people from the beds of their pickup trucks and protesters in the street tossing items back at them.
While police have not released details about the victim or a suspected shooter, the Times’ Mike Baker—who documented the event as it unfolded in a Twitter thread—reported the victim was wearing “a hat with the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a far-right group based in the Portland area that has clashed with protesters in the past.”
In a Sunday morning tweetstorm, the president only ratcheted up tensions by encouraging supporters to travel into cities to engage with Black Lives Matter protests and threatening to again send troops into Portland. He called Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler a “fool” who “has no idea what he is doing” and continued his “LAW & ORDER!!!” pronouncements. “Bring in the National Guard!”, he wrote, reiterating his Friday Twitter threat to remobilize federal agents into the city if Wheeler is unable to quell the chaos. The same day, the mayor firmly rejected the idea of Trump sending federal law enforcement into Portland as he did in July. “You made the situation far worse,” Wheeler wrote in an open letter to the president. “Your offer to repeat that disaster is a cynical attempt to stoke fear and distract us from the real work of our city.”
Trump also encouraged supporters to go into Portland, praising the participants of the MAGA caravan as “GREAT PATRIOTS” less than a week after one of his supporters, Illinois teenager Kyle Rittenhouse, traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, and allegedly shot and killed two protesters.
Yes. He’s actively inciting violence and physical confrontation. He always has – he’s always been eager to stoke violence. He and the Republican Party believe this is the play, to have cities burning, to have dead Americans in the street, and to say “this is what happens in Joe Biden’s America.” Nevermind that this is all the consequence of four years of Donald Trump’s America. Also: after he stoked the flames of violent white supremacy, this fat orange fascist went golfing all weekend.
Joe Biden’s statement:
The deadly violence we saw overnight in Portland is unacceptable. Shooting in the streets of a great American city is unacceptable.
I condemn violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right. And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same. https://t.co/JRuI7ya2Wv
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 30, 2020
Donald Trump has been president for almost four years.
The temperature in the country is higher, tensions run stronger, divisions run deeper.
And all of us are less safe because he can’t do the job of the American president.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 30, 2020
The President has spent four years inciting violence that his most radical supporters are once again carrying out. Like they did before the 2018 midterms. Like they did in El Paso. Like they did in Kenosha. Like they did tonight in Portland.
That’s the story. https://t.co/m3YX9VULlu
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) August 30, 2020
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.