Trump Campaign Confuses Black Churchgoers With Biden-Loving Rioters
Donald Trump's campaign released an attack ad last week called “Meet Joe Biden's Supporters," and of course, the intent was to shamelessly link rioters, looters, and “anarchists" to the former vice president. It's a low blow because while the rightwing thugs who shoot protesters with paintballs, pepper spray, and literal bullets are overtly Trump supporters, no one in the “antifa mobs" has been spotted wearing “No Malarkey" hats.
In the last shot of the gross ad, Biden is seen palling around with — gasp! — masked Black people before a slide appears stating "Stop Joe Biden and his rioters." That's followed by Mike Pence's creepy voice warning, “You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America." The Republican argument apparently is that the Kenyan socialist was the one holding Biden in check for eight years.
The citizens in this ad aren't “rioters." They are Black community leaders at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden met and prayed with them in June after George Floyd's death. One gentleman to Biden's left is even wearing a colorful pocket square, which isn't typical riot gear — although I haven't been to one recently.
Biden meets with community leaders at DE church www.youtube.com
Trump wants to go full Willie Horton on Biden, but even in 1988, it wasn't enough to just run ads with random Black faces. Horton was also a convicted murder who'd raped a woman after he was released on a weekend furlough. The Black people in this ad are churchgoers, and they're pissed.
From the Religion News Service:
The Rev. Silvester S. Beaman, pastor of Bethel AME church that is featured in the digital spot released Wednesday (Sept. 9), said it encourages viewers to see Black church leaders and their flocks as "thuggish rule breakers."
"The ad is overtly racist and offensive on numerous levels," Beaman told Religion News Service on Saturday (Sept. 13). "It is a racist attack on the African American church, and because it was an attack on the Christian church, it should be offensive to every Christian and person of faith."
The AME leaders plan to release a statement later today demanding an apology from the Trump campaign. They also want the ad, which we're not sharing here for a reason, pulled. Neither is likely to happen. They're also requesting federal protection for the church from Trump's unhinged followers, as well as a federal investigation into the legality of the Trump campaign's use of their images in ways they believe "might incite violence, and encourage racial tensions that lead to placing people of color in harm's way."
The Trump ad lingers in slow motion over the image of Biden kneeling in front of the community leaders. It wouldn't surprise me if the idiots behind the ad just assumed Biden was “taking a knee" like Colin Kaepernick because conservatives have forgotten how kneeling works. It's not a middle finger to the flag and apple pie but a display of reverence. In Biden's case, this was a "moral gesture of solidarity" that also "provided room for a tighter photograph."
'Our Breath Has Been Taken Away:' Black Leaders Confront Biden Amid George Floyd Protests www.youtube.com
The folks behind Biden included church pastor Rev. Silvester S. Beaman, his wife, Renee Palmore Beaman, Delaware Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, nine local pastors, a rabbi, two school presidents, a school board member, a Christian community activist and an aide to Delaware Senator Chris Coons. They don't spend their evenings setting cars on fire, but they probably still hurt cops' fee-fees by advocating for racial justice.
Beaman stressed that their cause isn't “anti-police," but anti-Black people dying. He also read Trump for filth.
BEAMAN: I am insulted and appalled that our group of nonviolent religious, community, academic and political leaders would be characterized as thugs, when Trump's response to the same issues causing protest was to use military-type tactics to gas, bully, and clear the way of protestors so he could go to a closed church — that didn't invite him — and wave a Bible for a photo op.
Now, whose action was thuggish and violent?
Preach, brother, preach. And keep working that pocket square.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."