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Michelle Obama brands Trump 'racist,' calls BLM movement 'overwhelmingly peaceful'

"What the president is doing is, once again, patently false," the former first lady said in a new campaign video.

Published: October 7, 2020 2:09pm

Updated: October 7, 2020 8:19pm

Former first lady Michelle Obama has reentered the 2020 fray, calling President Trump "racist" for portraying as violent the Black Lives Matter protests she asserts have been "overwhelmingly peaceful."

In a campaign video supporting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden released Tuesday, Obama blasted Trump for "stoking fear."

"Right now, the president and his allies are trying to tap into that frustration and distract from his breathtaking failures by giving folks someone to blame other than them," Obama said. "They're stoking fears about black and brown Americans, lying about how minorities will destroy the suburbs, whipping up violence and intimidation — and they're pinning it all on what's been an overwhelmingly peaceful movement for racial solidarity."

Claiming that "research backs it up," Obama said, "only a tiny fraction of demonstrations have had any violence at all. So what the president is doing is, once again, patently false. It's morally wrong, and yes, it is racist."

Still, "that doesn't mean it won't work," said the former first lady, "because this is a difficult time, a confusing time, and when people hear these lies and these crazy conspiracies repeated over and over and over again, they don't know what to think. With everything going on in their lives, they don't have time to fact-check falsehoods being spread throughout the Internet, and even reasonable people might get scared."

"And one thing this president is really good at is using fear and confusion and spreading lies to win," she said in the 26-minute video.

Trump campaign spokeswoman Samantha Zager said, "These baseless attacks from a former First Lady only prove Joe Biden has yet to shore up support from Black Americans after taking their votes for granted and failing minority communities for decades."

Obama may have been referring to a report published by the U.S. Crisis Project, a joint effort by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project and the Bridging Divides Initiative at Princeton, which found that most demonstrations over three months have been peaceful.

"In more than 93% of all demonstrations connected to the movement, demonstrators have not engaged in violence or destructive activity," the study reported. "Peaceful protests are reported in over 2,400 distinct locations around the country. Violent demonstrations, meanwhile, have been limited to fewer than 220 locations — under 10% of the areas that experienced peaceful protests."

The study also found that of 10,600 protests, 7,750 were connected to the Black Lives Matter movement.

But Washington Examiner columnist Byron York pointed out: "Princeton University group studies 3 months of Black Lives Matter protests. Intent is to show they are 'overwhelmingly peaceful.' But report reveals nearly 570 violent demonstrations -- riots -- in nearly 220 locations spread all across country."

Trump has declared himself the "law and order" president and gone after Biden, claiming he is not concerned with restoring order in the U.S., where several cities have been torn by racial strife. Last month, Trump toured the charred remains of businesses in Kenosha, Wisc., which erupted in violence in August after the police shooting of Jacob Blake. 

"These are not acts of peaceful protests, but really domestic terror," Trump said during a round table with law enforcement. "Reckless far-left politicians continue to push the destructive message that our nation or our law enforcement are oppressive or racist, they'll throw out any word that comes to them."

During a rally in Duluth, Minn., last week, Trump condemned the riots that followed the Memorial Day death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police. The president pointed out that the arson and looting actually hit black-owned businesses in the city.

"Thirty percent of the people in the suburbs are minorities," Trump said. "And so, we're ruining this American dream for everybody."

At an event in Atlanta last month, the president unveiled a so-called "Platinum Plan" for black voters, which includes a new clemency commission, as he accused Biden of supporting trade and immigration policies that harm the black community.

"For half a century, Joe has personally advocated or enacted every policy that has caused pain and suffering to the black community," Trump said.

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