Rep. Val Demings of Orlando, considered as a running mate for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, faced the nation on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday.
When asked to address the ongoing protests in Portland, now at the 90 day mark, the Central Florida legislator focused on the President and his administration rather than addressing the protesters themselves.
“This is exactly what happens when Homeland Security, the intelligence community, the military, and others who are charged with protecting our homeland are politicized,” Demings said, calling out Secretary Chad Wolf who preceded her on the program.
“The President is not capable of fulfilling his duties,” Demings said. “His primary responsibility is the health, safety, and well being of the American people.”
As host Margaret Brennan tried to refocus Demings on the question of the protesters themselves, the Congresswoman talked over the question, focusing again on the President.
“Wouldn’t it be nice if the President of the United States got on a microphone or on the airwaves and sent a message of peace and calm?”
“Talking to the protesters, talking to the demonstrators, but also talking to those who come in and loot and steal and do harm, those who are on his side, his supporters, who have come in and taken the lives of people trying to send a calming and peaceful message.”
She did eventually note that the “demonstrators have the right to demonstrate but we are a nation of laws.”
“We don’t condemn people who are obeying the law because of those who are not obeying the law … we can and have done both in this America,” Demings contended.
More typical, however, was her framing as the current chaos in the cities as the President’s problem.
“The chaos and disorder and lawlessness we are seeing, that is Donald Trump‘s America,” Demings said.
The phrasing “Donald Trump’s America” was not accidental, as Republicans have been using the inverse.
Republicans, including Sen. Rick Scott and Rep. Matt Gaetz, have framed the violence in the streets as evidence of “Joe Biden’s America,” with Democrats disinclined to criticize protests when they go awry.