SPRINGFIELD, PENNSYLVANIA — Nicole Murphy hasn’t ventured from her suburban neighborhood into Philadelphia since the racial justice protests and violence erupted three months ago.
“In Kenosha and other places they were coming out of the cities into the suburbs and causing havoc. So you never know. It’s an unsettling feeling,” said Ms. Murphy, 32, who works in the insurance industry.
She never has voted before and said she registered as a Republican this year to vote for President Trump.
Republicans believe there are many more out there like her, and they ran a full court press seeking to take advantage, demanding everyone from Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser explain why they can’t control the mayhem, death and destruction on the streets.
Mr. Biden announced he would make a trip Thursday to visit the site of recent chaos and bloodshed in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He had previously rejected the idea, saying it would only add to the turmoil.
The Trump campaign said it was evidence of the unrest taking a political toll on him and fellow Democrats.
“He knows he has been defined as a tool of the radical left who is too weak to stand up to the anti-police wing and the radicals in his party,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said of Mr. Biden. “You don’t need polls to understand that Americans can see, on the evening news and all day on cable television, cities on fire.”
The president jetted into Kenosha on Tuesday to bring millions of dollars in federal aid for police and burned-out businesses. The destruction and protests in the southern Wisconsin city followed the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, on Aug. 23.
Mr. Biden told reporters that he would succeed where Mr. Trump failed to bring people together.
“This president keeps throwing gasoline on the fire every place he goes,” said Mr. Biden.
Blaming Mr. Trump has been a staple reaction of Democratic leaders in cities facing unrest, from Washington, D.C., to Portland, Oregon. City leaders have praised protesters, saying they’re raising important issues, even as they lament the violence that’s sprung out of the protests.
In recent days they’ve turned to Mr. Trump’s own law-and-order approach, saying police will squelch any mayhem.
Polls show the presidential race has tightened significantly, too.
Mr. Biden’s 12-percentage-point lead over Mr. Trump in June shrank to 7 points in a USA Today/Suffolk University poll released Wednesday.
The latest Quinnipiac University poll also showed Mr. Trump gaining ground, from 15 percentage points down in July to 10 this week.
The Quinnipiac survey also found that a larger share of voters felt safer with Mr. Trump in charge. Half the voters — 50% — gave the safety nod to Mr. Trump, compared to 40% who felt safer with Mr. Biden.
“The violence and the unrest — it is hard when you don’t feel safe sending your kids out on the street,” said Springfield mom Angela Donaldson, 46, an internet analytics worker who plans to vote for Mr. Trump in November.
“It is absolutely the Democratic governors’ fault,” she said. “Luckily we live in a safe area here, but we are close enough to Philly. The initial unrest kind of spilled over into [nearby] Upper Darby and Drexel Hill.”
In another law-and-order jab, Republican attorneys general of 26 states on Wednesday marked the 100th day of protests in Portland, Oregon, by calling out Democratic officials for not strongly condemning the violence.
In a press call with reporters, members of the Republican Attorneys General Association said Democratic politicians have “capitulated to criminals run amok.”
“The Democrats have made it clear with their actions over the last 100 days that they will stand by while radicals attack our officers and destroy our cities,” said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. “It is unacceptable that the attorney general of any state would stand idly by and watch their own cities burn around them. We must restore stability and order to end this lawlessness.”
On Capitol Hill, Republican lawmakers demanded D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser answer for the increased protester violence in the nation’s capital, including the angry mob that swarmed people attending President Trump’s nomination speech at the White House last week.
“Your choice to surrender the streets of D.C. to violent left-wing extremists and agitators so that they can intimidate, coerce, and assault innocent people places at risk all who live, work and patronize businesses in the District,” wrote Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and James Comer of Kentucky, the top Republicans on the Judiciary and Oversight committees, respectively.
“You must restore order and peace to the District before left-wing violent extremism gets further out of hand,” they said.
Mr. Comer and Mr. Jordan asked the mayor to turn over all documents and communications outlining the city’s response to “violent left-wing agitators harassing peaceful individuals” since June 1.
The political jousting over the rioting even seeped into Mr. Trump’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of America’s victory in World War II.
“American warriors did not defeat fascism and oppression overseas only to watch our freedoms be trampled by violent mobs here at home,” Mr. Trump told the audience in North Carolina that included several World War II veterans. “We must teach our children that America is the land of heroes like you.”
Referring to a summer of street violence, rioting and defacing of monuments in the U.S., the president said Americans should celebrate their heritage instead of tearing it down.
“We’re not ashamed in America, we’re not ashamed of anything,” Mr. Trump said. “We’re proud of our country. Our country is great, and we’re going to keep it that way. Together we will remember America’s towering victories. We will recognize America’s outstanding virtues, and we will pay tribute to the heroes who keep us safe, strong, proud and free.”
⦁ Dave Boyer and Jeff Mordock reported from Washington.
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