Biden’s First Campaign Gaffe - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Biden’s First Campaign Gaffe
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Well, that didn’t take long.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, well known for his gaffes, announced for president — and immediately stepped in it.

Looking into the camera — with a prepared script no less — Biden said this of the violence in Charlottesville in 2017:

Charlottesville is also home to a defining moment for this nation in the last few years. It was there on August of 2017 we saw Klansmen and white supremacists and neo-Nazis come out in the open, their crazed faces illuminated by torches, veins bulging, and bearing the fangs of racism. Chanting the same anti-Semitic bile heard across Europe in the ’30s. And they were met by a courageous group of Americans, and a violent clash ensued and a brave young woman lost her life.

Yes, indeed, there were Klansmen, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis there. But they were not “met by a courageous group of Americans.” They were met by an equally violent prone group — the masked hoodlums of the notoriously violent and far-left Antifa.

This would be the self-same Antifa that the Washington Post headlined this way in 2017:

Black-clad antifa members attack peaceful right-wing demonstrators in Berkeley

The Post reported:

Their faces hidden behind black bandannas and hoodies, about 100 anarchists and Antifa — “anti-fascist” — members barreled into a protest Sunday afternoon in Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park.

Jumping over plastic and concrete barriers, the group melted into a larger crowd of around 2,000 that had marched peacefully throughout the sunny afternoon for a “Rally Against Hate” gathering.

Shortly after, violence began to flare. A pepper-spray-wielding Trump supporter was smacked to the ground with homemade shields. Another was attacked by five black-clad antifa members, each windmilling kicks and punches into a man desperately trying to protect himself. A conservative group leader retreated for safety behind a line of riot police as marchers chucked water bottles, shot off pepper spray and screamed, “Fascist go home!”

Then there was this in Politico:

FBI, Homeland Security warn of more ‘antifa’ attacks

Confidential documents call the anarchists that seek to counter white supremacists ‘domestic terrorists.’

That story said this:

Federal authorities have been warning state and local officials since early 2016 that leftist extremists known as “Antifa” had become increasingly confrontational and dangerous, so much so that the Department of Homeland Security formally classified their activities as “domestic terrorist violence,” according to interviews and confidential law enforcement documents obtained by POLITICO.

Since well before the Aug. 12 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned deadly, DHS has been issuing warnings about the growing likelihood of lethal violence between the left-wing anarchists and right-wing white supremacist and nationalist groups.

Previously unreported documents disclose that by April 2016,authorities believed that “anarchist extremists” were the primary instigators of violence at public rallies against a range of targets. They were blamed by authorities for attacks on the police, government and political institutions, along with symbols of “the capitalist system,” racism, social injustice and fascism, according to a confidential 2016 joint intelligence assessment by DHS and the FBI.

Over here at Real Clear Politics is video of Antifa violence in action in Portland, Oregon in 2018 taken by freelance journalist Mike Bivins. Bivins tweeted:

Video shows a struggle for a flag and then a black-clad person hit this dude in the head before he drops. I was watching the blood pour out of his head and into the street.

The accompanying story reads in part:

These pictures and video come from the August 4, 2018 confrontation between anarchist “Antifa” militants and the attendees of the pro-Trump “Patriot Prayer” rally in Portland, OR. Source: @PDX Mike Bivins, a freelance journalist from Portland.

FOX News reports that doctors needed four staples to close a 3-inch gash on the back of Paul Welch’s head and he spent at least two days recovering from a concussion. Welch, an Oregon man who voted for Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, carried an American flag to protest in opposition to the pro-Trump rally, but he was targeted by Antifa for his excessive patriotism.

One could go on — and on and on — with examples of Antifa violence. It was on vivid display in Charlottesville, along with the violence of the supporters of the Klan and the neo-Nazis.

All of them were hoodlums. President Trump’s remarks on Charlottesville are routinely misrepresented as endorsing those who were on the “right” — and saying there were “fine people” on both sides. He was speaking, of course, of those peaceful protesters who came to peacefully support or oppose the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. He was not speaking about the others who quite clearly came to Charlottesville to spew their hatred and were looking for violence.

Antifa, with a long, documented reputation for violence, showed up to meet violence with violence. The difference here is that Biden, knowing full well what Antifa represents, went out of his way to call them “a courageous group of Americans” anyway.

Biden isn’t alone here in saying good things about seriously violent, seriously bad people. Mark Bray, a lecturer at Dartmouth, took to the pages of the Washington Post to defend Antifa.

Post columnist Marc Thiessen, a former Bush 43 aide, noticed exactly the problem the Democrats have with condemning Antifa.

After Charlottesville, the media rightly demanded that President Trump and all Republicans condemn the neo-Nazis and the KKK. So where are the calls for Democrats to condemn antifa — and the brutal public condemnation for those who fail to do so? If black-clad neo-Nazis had attacked peaceful protesters at a “No to Racism in America” march in Berkeley, politicians in Washington would be falling over themselves to express their disgust — and any who failed to do so would be vilified. But when neo-communists commit this kind of violence, they get a pass from the left.

That cannot be allowed to stand.

Thiessen is right. Support for Antifa and their violence cannot be allowed to stand. But as Joe Biden has just made crystal clear, he is not only going to give Antifa a pass — he opened his campaign by describing the masked hoodlums as “a courageous group of Americans.

Thus making the very first gaffe in his brand new presidential campaign. That Joe Biden is prone to gaffes is no secret. The fact that this one was made with scripted deliberateness says everything that needs to be said about the state of today’s Democratic Party.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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