A still from a Trump ad claiming "You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America."

Republicans Keep Pointing to Awful Stuff Happening Right Now & Calling It “Joe Biden’s America”

Do they know who the president currently is?
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Boris Epshteyn, the strategic adviser for coalitions on Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, posted a video to Twitter this week showing a clash between protesters in Portland, Oregon, and the federal officers Trump recently sent to the city despite the wishes of city and state leadership.

Again, this is recent footage, from the last week or so, when the sitting president is Donald Trump. So it’s strange that Epshteyn captioned the video with the warning: “This would be @JoeBiden’s America,” calling it “a very scary place.”

Epshteyn’s message, which he and other Republicans patronizingly pointed out as if it wasn’t already clear, is that Portland is under Democratic leadership on a local and state level. So if Biden were President, this would be what things looked like on a national level, according to them.

That may have been the point, but it’s a flimsy one. First of all, the implication is that this is what will happen in cities across America come November if Biden is elected but not if Trump is reelected. Why? How? If the message is that the president has the power to control violent uprisings (which, to be clear, is not what is happening in Portland but it’s the image Republicans are trying to project) one way or the other–and if he’s saying things like this won’t happen in his second term–why is he letting them happen now?

Another really important thing about the footage Epshteyn shared is that the events shown wouldn’t have happened if Portland was left under local leadership. This is what happened when Trump sent in his federal officers. The worst that seemed to be happening in Portland’s streets before this was nonviolent protesting and, as the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security himself laid out on Twitter, some graffiti.

Meaning the situation depicted in that video is 100% the doing of Trump’s America.

This isn’t the first time Republicans have confused “Joe Biden’s America” with the present day. Last week, Fox News’ Laura Ingraham tweeted (and then deleted) an article about the Canadian city of Toronto banning Catholic churches from administering communion (a thing that didn’t actually happen), adding this commentary: “Will Joe Biden do more to protect religious liberty than Donald Trump? Not a prayer.”

I don’t know what Biden has to do with Canadian Catholics but I’m pretty sure it’s absolutely nothing.

Epshteyn tweeted out another video a day after his first, again showing footage of Joe Biden’s “SCARY” America, aka this country right now, during Donald Trump’s presidency.

The Trump campaign also has a series of ads warning about “Joe Biden’s America.” They show elderly people or mothers and children on hold during home break-ins, waiting helplessly for the police Joe Biden has defunded and/or abolished.

They also show footage of–you guessed it–Donald Trump’s America, including multiple shots of police stopping protesters from presumably committing crimes, which is strange, because I thought the whole point was that there aren’t any police in this JBA timeline. The tagline for all the ads is “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” even though the danger they claim to be showing is happening now, when a whole lot of people don’t feel at all safe.

The funny thing about all of this is that both Republicans and Democrats and everyone in between and outside of that dichotomy looks at a place like Portland right now, with violent tension between protesters and federal officers, and the relationship between Black people and the police nationwide, and they all want things to change.

There are some incredible mental gymnastics going on, though, from the side that somehow believes (or wants us to believe) that the only way to change is to make things stay the same.

(image: screencap)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.