He put out a statement about Kenosha last night, but written statements are farts in the wind. Today Never Trumpers were getting antsy about his persistent refusal to say something on camera. Tara Setmayer is part of Project Lincoln and has been flaying Trump for years as a guest on CNN but she felt obliged to nudge the Democrat on Twitter this morning:
This is good news. BUT…
If #BidenHarris2020 dont come out strongly against this looting & rioting mayhem, they are handing a gift to Trump to successfully exploit with suburban voters they need to win in swing states.
Condemning that didn’t mean your against BLM. https://t.co/f14giIMAjS
— Tara Setmayer (@TaraSetmayer) August 26, 2020
So did Peter Wehner, a former Bush speechwriter who published an op-ed two days ago titled, “For Conservatives to Have Any Hope, Trump Has to Lose.” That’s representative of his work since 2017:
Biden should personally condemn the violence we're seeing unfold in our streets. He could combine it with support for peaceful protests/calls for justice. But his condemnation of violence needs to be direct, strong and unequivocal. It would be morally right/politically wise.
— Peter Wehner (@Peter_Wehner) August 26, 2020
“Amen to this,” replied former NRO columnist David French, a Trump critic so staunch that he nearly jumped into the 2016 primary. The most high-profile Never Trumper in the country at the moment, though, is John Kasich, having appeared last week at the Democratic convention to plead Biden’s case to Americans. This morning he went on CNN to plead Americans’ case to Biden: It was time to break the silence over rioting.
“Violence has no place,” he declared. “Martin Luther King took the beatings, the gassings, the jailings, and said, ‘We will not respond with violence,’ and I believe that it is absolutely essential for the Democrats to say, ‘While we support protesters, this violence is abhorrent and actually sets back the ability to get change.’”
“Now we don’t know the full story in Wisconsin, there’s this news that’s coming out about perhaps a vigilante, and what we know is that there are people who show up at these protests who are there to design to disrupt and give everybody a bad name, but they have to be called out, Jim,” Kasich continued. “Joe Biden needs to be very, very strong on the fact that while protesters are okay — they’re a positive thing, they’re America — this violence needs to be deeply condemned and deeply condemned now! Sooner rather than later in my opinion.”
He concluded, “This is a terrible thing that’s happening in our country, and there’s no excuse and no reason for anybody to look the other way when it comes to these violent acts, and I just hold up somebody like Martin Luther King who said, ‘If you return violence for violence, you lose,’ and I agree with him.”
So, this afternoon, that’s what Biden — finally — did, along with denouncing the shooting of Jacob Blake:
Once again, a Black man — Jacob Blake — was shot by the police. In front of his children. It makes me sick.
Is this the country we want to be?
Needless violence won’t heal us. We need to end the violence — and peacefully come together to demand justice. pic.twitter.com/WdNqrxA3PK
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 26, 2020
Better late than never, says Guy Benson, but let’s not overlook that it’s late. The dregs of society have been rampaging for weeks in Portland. Where was this a month ago?
A video will circulate more widely than a written statement but coverage of a visit to Wisconsin will circulate more widely than either. Biden owes Wisconsin a visit anyway after the convention in Milwaukee was canceled due to COVID. He should go to Kenosha, meet with the Blake family in person and with some of the people whose businesses were burned. It can all be done outdoors, with masks on, without physical contact. If he gets there before Trump does, he can say it’s proof that he cares that much more.
Here’s your exit quotation, in which the mayor of D.C. is asked about the repulsive spectacle that John wrote about yesterday in which woke mobs tried to bully people into raising their fists in solidarity. The closer we get to the election, the more Democratic politicians are going to have to speak up about this garbage. Whether they really want to or not.
"What I saw in those videos was highly inappropriate… I don't think it had anything to do with demands for social justice."
— The Hill (@thehill) August 26, 2020