President Trump in a pair of tweets Monday night slammed “deranged Anarchists & Agitators” rioting in some cities, while claiming that if presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wins the November election, the country would descend into chaos.
The ominous and fiery tweets continue a pattern of sharp rhetoric from the president, as he earlier in the evening warned that anyone caught damaging federal buildings will face a “MINIMUM TEN YEARS IN PRISON. Don’t do it!”
Trump and his administration have also attacked uncooperative Democratic governors and mayors who are struggling to control the violence in their cities but have in many cases resisted federal help — and in Portland explicitly banned city police from working with federal law enforcement.
“The Fake News Media is trying to portray the Portland and Seattle ‘protesters’ as wonderful, sweet and innocent people just out for a little stroll. Actually, they are sick and deranged Anarchists & Agitators who our great men & women of Law Enforcement easily control, but who… would destroy our American cities, and worse, if Sleepy Joe Biden, the puppet of the Left, ever won,” Trump said in the posts.
Trump’s claim that law enforcement can “easily control” the rioters is seemingly disputed by his own Department of Homeland Security — its read-out of the Portland riots from Monday alone notes that on Sunday night officers had been attacked by fireworks, at least one molotov cocktail, and an “intense laser attack” by the rioters.
In one night this weekend six agents in Portland were injured, and multiple may not regain their vision after the laser attacks in recent days.
Trump continued: “Markets would crash and cities would burn. Our Country would suffer like never before. We will beat the Virus, soon, and go on to the Golden Age – better than ever before!”
These attacks by Trump against Biden are also not new.
He has claimed that the stock market would crash, ruining peoples’ savings, if Biden were elected.
Trump has also previously said that “[n]o one will be SAFE in Joe Biden’s America!” in a tweet that claimed the presumptive Democratic nominee wants to abolish police, Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE), suburbs and the Second Amendment — Biden has not said he would abolish any of those things.
But the Monday tweets underscore the apocalyptic terms both the president and Biden are framing the election in, as the U.S., amid cascading crises, is starkly divided on political lines, with Americans politically polarized on everything from whether schools should open to whether Confederate monuments should be taken down.
Among Democrats, a 61-17 majority thinks Confederate monuments should be removed, according to a recent Fox News Poll. Among Republicans, it’s 73-17 in opposition. On schools, 57 percent of Republicans think that schools should reopen fully in person with either no precautions or with social distancing and masks. Just 21 percent of Democrats think the same.
Biden, for his part, has previously said “[i]t’s not hyperbole to say Donald Trump is a threat to our planet,” said that “Donald Trump is poison to our soul” and explicitly said Trump’s response to the coronavirus “has cost us lives.”
“We are in a battle for the soul of our nation — and Donald Trump is poison to our soul. We have to get him out of the White House,” Biden said in one tweet.
Meanwhile, the rioting continued in Portland on Monday night and the Trump administration plans to send 100 deputy U.S. Marshals there later this week, according to an internal Marshals email reviewed by The Washington Post. That would approximately double the current federal law enforcement presence in Portland.
But Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, along with the Democratic mayors of other cities stricken by increased violence in recent weeks, signed a letter to congressional leaders Monday that demanded they pass a bill banning the Trump administration from sending officers to cities without local consent.
“[W]e are outraged that the administration has responded to these First Amendment-protected gathering by authorizing the deployment of riot-gear-clad forces to Washington, D.C., Portland, Seattle and other communities across the country without the consent of local authorities,” the letter says. “As demonstrated now in Portland, these federal forces have used the pretext of protecting federal property to also patrol streets, way outside of their lawful jurisdiction, arrest residents without cause and trample on Constitutional rights.”
Fox News’ Vandana Rambaran, Barnini Chakraborty and the Associated Press contributed to this report.