President Donald Trump took aim at Pennsylvania Democrats — and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden — after protesters, ostensibly demonstrating against racism, threatened an elderly couple eating on a restaurant’s outside patio over the weekend, demanding that diners repent of racism, make threatening and obscene gestures, and even breaking glassware.
The incident, Fox News reports, was captured on video and shows protesters moving in on a group of diners eating outside, yelling loudly about “racism” through a megaphone. Some diners leave, but others stand firm as protesters scream slogans, flash middle fingers, and even steal drinks.
— Rob O'Donnell (@odonnell_r) September 7, 2020
“One of the videos that were posted online appeared to show a man holding a megaphone calling diners at the establishment an ’embarrassment,'” Fox News reports. “Some of the diners can be seen getting up from their seats.”
“Another protester could be seen giving an elderly couple the middle finger before someone else walks over to the pair, takes what appears to be a full glass of beer, and drinks the entire glass. Another protester reportedly smashed a wine glass,” the outlet continues.
Pittsburgh police said, over the weekend, that they are looking into that incident as well as another, where a demonstrator allegedly knocked over a man carrying a bicycle, according to local media.
Protest organizers defended the decision to confront restaurant-goers.
“People were starting to get aggressive towards us because they didn’t see what happened. But the other people actually didn’t care. They got up out of their seats and moved to the side so that we could address the people who actually were making remarks,” one demonstrator told Pittsburgh’s WTAE. “Like, ‘oh we’re an embarrassment and we’re disgusting.’ But we can’t be the embarrassment and disgusting people when we’re peacefully saying stop killing our brothers and sisters and someone can come in and throw blows.”
The incident is just the latest in a string of disruptions, attendant to Black Lives Matter demonstrations, where marchers have accosted outdoor diners and demanded they raise their fists in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Similar tactics have been used on diners in Washington, D.C.
Tuesday, the president assailed Democrats who are, he says, tolerating violence and anarchy.
“These Anarchists, not protesters, are Biden voters, but he has no control and nothing to say,” the president tweeted. “And because of weak and pathetic Democrat leadership, this thuggery is happening in other Democrat run cities and states. Must shut them down fast.”
He then took aim at his November opponent: “Biden and his most Liberal in Senate running mate, Kamala, won’t even talk about it. They won’t utter the words, LAW & ORDER!”
Biden has distanced himself from more violent protests and called for an end to rioting although he hasn’t specifically suggested that state and city leaders bring in members of the National Guard and other state-run paramilitary units to help keep the peace. Trump, by contrast, has regularly suggested that mayors and governors take a hard line on protests that turn violent.
Biden has also suggested that violence is occurring on “both sides,” equating right-leaning movements with the more violent, destructive “anti-fascist” protests in places like Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.
“Yes, I do,” Biden said when asked if he condemned so-called “Antifa” riots. “Violence no matter who it is.”