Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed public affairs strategist Clint Brewer in the studio.
During the third hour, Leahy and Brewer discussed Joe Biden’s recent statements suggesting that violence will increase if Donald Trump were to be re-elected in November. Brewer added that Trump’s job today in Kenosha was to ‘take the heat out of the situation’ if he wants to prevent any backlash from the left.
(Trump clip plays)
He didn’t mention the far left or from what I saw I don’t believe he mentioned the word Antifa. Antifa is a criminal organization. And he didn’t mention Antifa thugs. But mostly seemed to blame the police and law enforcement.
Leahy: And that’s Donald Trump. Joe Biden escaped from his basement. He went up to Pittsburgh and gave a speech. He snuck out! I don’t know how he got out of his basement. They must have left a window open or something.
Brewer: I don’t think at his age he crawled out of the window. (Leahy laughs)
Leahy: He took the elevator. He brought the ambulance. (Laughs) Vroom, and drove him to Pittsburgh.
Brewer: A ground-level exit. Let’s put it that way. (Leahy laughs)
Leahy: Here’s what he said. He blamed Donald Trump for the violence in Democratic-controlled cities. He said, ‘I look at his violence and I see lives and communities and the dreams of small businesses being destroyed.
The opportunity real progress for race and police reform and justice are being put to the test. Donald Trump looks at this violence and sees a political lifeline.’ He blames Donald Trump for the violence in Democratically controlled cities. Will that line work Clint Brewer?
Brewer: I think what he’s saying is actually a larger argument that he’s making to the American people through those remarks. The posit that he’s giving to the American people is that you will be safer with me as president then you are with Donald Trump.
Leahy: He said this. He also said violence will increase if Donald Trump is re-elected.
Brewer: That’s right.
Leahy: Now, Molly Hemingway at The Federalist interpreted that as a threat. That if you elect Donald Trump all of my supporters will continue to be violent.
Brewer: I’ve got to be honest. As lukewarm as the left is on Joe Biden I’m not sure he actually has that level of control over…
Leahy: He doesn’t.
Brewer: No. And so I don’t know that he actually has the standing to make that threat. But lets set that aside. What we have at this moment, previously pre-Kenosha we talked about the things that were really going to matter in this campaign was the response to COVID-19 and bringing back the economy.
And now this unfortunate horrible set of circumstances in Kenosha has changed the metric. And what we’re now seeing is one candidate says I’m the law and order President. This will come to an end and we’re going to work and stop this.
Biden is doing it in the negative and the abstract and essentially is saying the same thing that I’m the person that can end this. They are both accusing each other of the same thing. Which is you are the person that is causing or contributing to it. So what that leaves is a lot of people in the middle.
A lot of Americans who are not die-hard left or right and are left to make a decision about who they believe more. To me the Biden speech in Pennsylvania and how he conducts himself in the following few days and how he reacts to President Trump’s visit today, that’s got him on as much as a tightrope as the President is as we discussed in the last segment going to Kenosha. They are really playing chicken with each other on this issue.
Leahy: I thought the Biden speech and accusations fell flat.
Brewer: Maybe that one speech. As an overarching theme, they are seeing if they can get traction on it and then will pivot depending on what the President does today.
Leahy: I think that’s probably what is going to happen. That’s very insightful on your part Clint. So let’s ask this broader question. Will the violence continue between now and the election in your view?
Brewer: I think it depends on a lot of random things that can happen in America that neither campaign controls. How many times a day do police stop people in this country? We have a lot of police officers and rightfully so. It’s a big country. So there are hundreds and thousands of opportunities for similar issues to happen out there.
Leahy: Let me add this. It seems to me that it’s not the issue of the number of times that police stop somebody of color. I think the issue is the reaction and who is making that reaction when it seems to me…
Brewer: In the reaction to what happens on the street?
Leahy: The excuse to go be violent. I see a hardcore moving around the country Black Lives Matter and Antifa activists thousands perhaps. Paid for by somebody. And when there is an incident they flock to the incident and start a riot. That’s what it looks like to me. Do you see that or not?
Brewer: I think there is an element of that. I think there is certainly a class of professional activists in any situation (Laughs) who go in and create trouble. I mean its not just this situation. That’s a time-honored tradition.
Leahy: But it’s heightened in this situation. And it does appear to be coordinated with money in this situation. They arrested 178 people in Kenosha and 100 were not from Kenosha. Many of them were from Portland and Seattle according to the reports.
Brewer: Well even here when you had the Louisville riots and then the Nashville ones you could clearly see on social media and clearly see people moving between state lines. Its got a micro and a macro version right? And I think that’s the case. But I think not placing blame anywhere, but the number of times police officers have to stop people in this country on a daily basis is just an untold amount of opportunities for something to go wrong.
Leahy: The other argument I would say is what I see is that the rhetoric from the left, the Democrats, LeBron James, the NBA, and the rhetoric from Ryan Tannehill the quarterback for the Titans. What I think that does in the minds of persons of color who are arrested or told to comply with the lawful order of police, I think they now are saying I am morally authorized the lawful order of police. That’s never a good idea. But I see that accelerating. Do you see that or not?
Brewer: I don’t know how much effect in celebrity positions or otherwise have on that. I just don’t know. I think that people are and it’s not just people of color. If you look at the crowd shots from these riots and these instances there are plenty of White people out there.
Leahy: Well, that’s the riots. I’m talking about resisting arrest.
Brewer: I’ve got to be honest I don’t think so.
Leahy: You don’t see that?
Brewer: I don’t think regular Americans are sitting there saying I’m going to give this guy a problem because LeBron James said I could. How many regular people think that way? I just really don’t. I think people are living their lives and are out there every day with hard circumstances. Being pulled over by a police officer again, not placing blame on the police officer, but it’s stressful for anybody.
Leahy: Believe me it’s not on the top of my list for fun things to do.
Brewer: It’s not fun.
Leahy: If you are driving and you hear the woo woo woo woo and you pull over its an unpleasant experience. If you get a ticket or you don’t get a ticket.
Brewer: I think the best thing for this country is for the President to go to Kenosha today and take the heat out of the situation.
Leahy: I like the way you put it. Take the heat out of the situation.
Brewer: That’s what he has to do. If there is any moment in this presidency that he has to appear presidential it’s today. And from a tactical standpoint if he takes that away from Biden and leaves no way for Biden and his supporters to come out and blame the President based on what he does today then that is the President staying on the tightrope and the former Vice President falling off.
As I said, they are playing a game of chicken. If the President goes and performs well today and does what he should do by honoring the moral requirements of his audience by taking the heat out of this and taming the situation down then it’s going to be a win.
Leahy: Yeah. Of course, it’s President Trump.
Brewer: Oh yeah. That’s why you’ll hear the tone of skepticism in my voice.
Leahy: But let’s be honest about the President. Only one guy on the Republican side that could have beaten Hillary Clinton and that was Donald Trump in 2016 in my view. And so it’s a full package. Message discipline however at times has not been one of his strengths. Now I will say this.
Brewer: You mean like 90 percent of the time? (Leahy laughs)
Leahy: He’s been great the past two weeks on messaging hasn’t he?
Brewer: He and his advisors must realize they are in a fight finally.
Leahy: So here’s what I’m going to say. I think the President maintains message discipline. I think that he’s going to follow Clint Brewer’s advice. And he’s going to take the heat out of the situation. That’s what I think will happen today.
Brewer: I hope so. I hope so for the country. I hope so for the people in Kenosha. I really hope so.
Leahy: So here’s the thing. We know the President listens to this program. He’s taking notes. So we’ll see.
Brewer: We’ll find out.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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