Portland is among a number of cities where protesters have been demonstrating against police violence on Black people since the May 25 killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. In recent weeks, Trump has sent armed federal law enforcement agents to quell the protests, ostensibly to protect federal property.
But on Monday, Steele said it was really to create a narrative to fit Trump’s reelection script. He told protesters to avoid playing into it.
“There are plenty of other sites and areas inside Portland and elsewhere around the country that aren’t federal,” he said, adding:
“Do not give the president the link he’s looking for to connect that dot. Go to state property. Go to a mall. Go someplace else. But you don’t have to open that Pandora’s box of crazy that Trump wants to open and have a cellphone there ready to videotape your actions and reactions and play it back in his campaign commercials to say, ‘See? I told you. This is the America they want.’”
Steele also said Trump would use those images to boost his “law and order” narrative.
“These people are out there protesting Donald Trump, he flips the script and makes it as if they’re protesting against average everyday Americans, hard-working Americans just trying to get a paycheck,” Steele warned.
See more of his discussion with MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace above.