House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spoke forcefully Thursday against the riots that have been occurring with regularity for nearly four months in cities all over the country, as polling continues to show public sentiment souring on the unrest.
Pelosi and other Democrats have spent much of the last few months criticizing President Donald Trump's use of federal law enforcement to stop violence in places like Chicago and Portland, Oregon.
"We support peaceful demonstrations, we participate in them, they are part of the essence of our democracy," Pelosi said. "That does not include looting, starting fires, or rioting. They should be prosecuted. That is lawlessness. I'm very proud that Joe Biden has presented the clarity that, making a distinction that I don't think our colleagues quite understand but the American people do and a poll released today said that the American people support congressional Democrats over President Trump in terms of dealing with the issue of crime in our country for all of their misrepresentations."
Speaker Pelosi: "We support peaceful demonstrations. We participate in them. They are part of the essence of our de… https://t.co/Tx7tQgjLSz— The Hill (@The Hill)1600362900.0
Pelosi also claimed that voters support congressional Democrats to handle crime more than they trust President Trump.
Protests began in late May after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis Police Department officers while resisting them after they attempted to arrest him for allegedly using counterfeit money at a local store.
Anti-police protests sprung up all over the country, often devolving into dangerous riots at night time. Protesters in Seattle took over blocks of the city and occupied a police precinct. Further police violence incidents, such as the shooting of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, sparked renewed protests and violence.
Portland, which has long dealt with general unrest often inflamed by Antifa, has seen some form of protests in the streets for more than 100 days in a row. Former GOP congressman Trey Gowdy criticized Pelosi for her late condemnation of the ongoing violence.
"You can be 100% behind law and order and law enforcement, or you can be, in her case, 100 days behind them," Gowdy said on Fox News. "It's been about 100 days. In that time, she had time to compare cops to stormtroopers. She had time to call [House Minority Leadaer] Kevin McCarthy the 'enemy of the state.' She had time to get her hair done ... but she had no time to defend law enforcement until the polls started tightening."