CNN Editor-At-Large Chris Cillizza, who writes a regular analysis column called “The Point,” wrote Sunday evening that President Donald Trump’s decision to frequently refer to the unrest across the United States as “riots” rather than “protests” show a candidate in political desperation.
“Trump’s efforts to label what is happening in major cities as ‘riots’ speaks at least somewhat to his desperation, politically speaking, at the moment,” writes Cillizza.
Included at the top of his column, however, was a photo of a building on fire in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which was ravaged in the days following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police last Sunday.
Trump’s efforts to label what is happening in major cities as “riots” speaks at least somewhat to his desperation, politically speaking, at the momenthttps://t.co/tQJ495xOZK pic.twitter.com/vs19vtCHiW
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) August 30, 2020
While it’s unlikely Cillizza hand-picked the photo for the column himself, the bizarre spectacle echoes a similar incident from last week in which a CNN television chyron referred to the Tuesday night unrest in Kenosha as “fiery but mostly peaceful,” all the while a field reporter was standing in front of a large fire.
You cannot make this up… A CNN reporter is standing in front of a building engulfed in flames and CNN’s chyron reads:
“FIERY BUT MOSTLY PEACEFUL PROTESTS AFTER POLICE SHOOTING” pic.twitter.com/4OHvKnh63u
— Kelb Hull (@CalebJHull) August 27, 2020
Despite the Wisconsin Governor asking Trump to avoid visiting Kenosha because it may hinder the city’s ability to heal, the president plans to visit on Tuesday, a week after two people were shot and killed in the city and another person was injured.
Of the president’s upcoming travel plans, Cillizza writes:
The President’s planned trip to Kenosha on Tuesday will give him a huge platform to make that case. “He will meet with law enforcement and survey damage from recent riots,” according to the pool report announcing the trip. (That bolding is mine.)
“He’ll use that grieving city as a backdrop for his campaign of fear,” predicted former Obama senior political adviser and CNN contributor David Axelrod. “In Trump’s perverse political calculus, division equals addition.”
Yup. And making sure people view what is happening in the country as “riots” rather than “protests” is a key part of Trump’s comeback strategy.
Trump has also offered to send in federal resources to Portland, Oregon, where violent unrest has been happening to varying degrees over the last several months.
“It’s ridiculous that they go on like this,” Trump told reporters during a visit to Texas on Saturday, after explaining that he could restore order in the city within a matter of about 45 minutes.
Later that same evening, an apparent right-wing protester was fatally shot in Portland.