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Newsletter: Why Trump is playing up fears of violence

Supporters of President Trump attend a rally and car parade Saturday from Clackamas to Portland, Ore.
(Paula Bronstein / Associated Press)

President Trump and his allies look to turn violence at protests to his advantage.

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Why Trump Is Playing up Fears of Violence

President Trump and his allies are trying to depict protests over racial injustice as a law-and-order campaign issue, attacking Democratic leaders, refusing to condemn deadly vigilante violence and touting a purportedly tranquil “Donald Trump’s America.” Former Vice President Joe Biden has accused Trump of inciting violence for political gain.

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Against the backdrop of a still-raging coronavirus outbreak, the White House has offered the clearest signal yet of a calculated GOP strategy of exploiting voter fears of violence as the campaign against Biden enters the final stretch and Trump trails in the polls.

The strategy closely resembles the one Trump employed, unsuccessfully, in the 2018 midterm election, when he spent weeks warning of “caravans” of migrants trying to reach the U.S. border with Mexico. This time, the effort is aimed at portraying urban Democratic strongholds as threatening and lawless.

Trump plans a visit Tuesday to Kenosha, Wis., where protests have flared for the last week over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was left paralyzed, and where a teenage gunman who reportedly idolized law enforcement has been charged in two deaths. Administration officials provided no indication that Trump wants to meet with Blake’s family, with whom Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, have talked at length.

Amid a stream of inflammatory tweets and retweets Sunday, the president castigated the mayor of Portland, Ore., where a caravan of Trump supporters late Saturday confronted protesters. One man, identified as a member of a right-wing group, was shot dead.

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Biden condemned the violence, “whether on the left or the right,” and has called on Trump to do the same.

Reopening 2.0

Starting today, California is implementing a new system designed to rekindle the economy, which has been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For most of the state, the new rules won’t result in many immediate changes, because restaurant dining, religious services, gyms and fitness centers, movie theaters and museums will remain restricted to outdoors only in the vast majority of counties. But hair salons and barbershops can open statewide, including for indoor services if they adhere to requirements for social distancing and employees wear masks and follow other health-related mandates. All retail stores and shopping malls also are permitted to open, at a maximum of 25% capacity, state officials said.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled the plan Friday. It’s a four-tier system in which counties must show consistent success in stemming the transmission of the coronavirus before allowing businesses greater flexibility to reopen and group activities to resume. And it appears to take a far more cautious approach than the governor’s first effort in the spring, when his decision to rapidly ease restrictions led to such a major surge in cases that he ordered another statewide shutdown.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

Foster Farms announced that it would comply with a Merced County health department order and temporarily close one of its poultry plants in Livingston, Calif., the site of a coronavirus outbreak that has left eight workers dead.

— Though scientists can still only guess at why, a growing body of evidence suggests preschoolers are uniquely resilient to the novel coronavirus.

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— What happens when COVID-19 meets influenza season? Some fear a twindemic, while others think flu season could be less severe.

For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.

More Than an Actor

Chadwick Boseman played the Marvel superhero Black Panther and real-life icons Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall on-screen. In private, since being diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in 2016, he had been waging a health battle — one that he succumbed to last week at age 43.

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Boseman’s death has unleashed an outpouring of emotional tributes. “He was calm. Assured. Constantly studying. But also kind, comforting, had the warmest laugh in the world, and eyes that [saw] much beyond his years, but could still sparkle like a child seeing something for the first time,” writes “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler.

Times film critic Justin Chang describes Boseman as “a movie star by stealth, an actor who could dazzle us on the surface and still hold something crucial in check, as if he were in possession of some deep and mysterious inner knowledge.” And columnist LZ Granderson writes that, for Black audiences, Boseman was more than an actor: “Boseman’s loss hurts so much because whether in the land of make-believe or in real life, he represented us, and the culture, so well.”

OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

— Why California’s lightning-sparked fires got so big so fast.

Police public relations units are an influential yet little-examined arm of law enforcement. Are they serving the public with unbiased facts or are they getting in the way of the truth?

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— The virtual DNC put coronavirus safety first — and topped the ratings. Here’s how they did it.

— L.A. City Councilman Curren Price helped a developer secure approval for three new digital billboards in his district. The developer’s companies later put $75,000 into a political action committee working to reelect Price.

— The pandemic is speeding up the California DMV’s modernization plans. For visitors, it’s still no day at the beach.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

On this date in 1986, Aeromexico Flight 498, flying from Mexico City to Los Angeles International Airport, collided with a Piper PA-28 Archer over Cerritos. Eighty-two people died — 67 aboard the two aircraft and 15 on the ground.

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The Douglas DC-9’s “main passenger cabin crashed upside down and exploded in a residential neighborhood near the corner of Carmenita Road and 183rd Street in Cerritos, damaging houses on Holmes Avenue, Reva Circle and Ashworth Place,” The Times reported.

“Three people were reported to have been on board the smaller airplane, which crashed in an empty school yard about two blocks from the wreckage of the airliner.”

Aug. 31, 1986: The smoldering ruins of homes mark the area of Cerritos where an Aeromexico jetliner fell to the ground.
Aug. 31, 1986: The smoldering ruins of homes mark the area of Cerritos where an Aeromexico jetliner fell to the ground.
(Joe Kennedy / Los Angeles Times)

Want more of the Los Angeles Times archives? We’re on Instagram.

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CALIFORNIA

— Despite wildfire concerns, illegal campfires have increased dramatically, as Southern Californians have flocked to the mountains for relief from a recent heat wave and months-long coronavirus restrictions.

— Former San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Russell faces a murder charge in the fatal shooting of a man in May. It’s the first time a law enforcement officer has been so charged under a state law that went into effect Jan.1.

— State lawmakers have voted to phase out the sale and use of firefighting foam containing toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer and have contaminated drinking water throughout the state.

— Hundreds of marchers commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium, a peace march that turned violent in 1970. Those gathered Saturday decried many of the same problems that were protested then.

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NATION-WORLD

— Holocaust reparations, prescriptions and rent checks: U.S. Postal Service delays are putting Americans in jeopardy.

Berlin police ordered a protest by people opposed to Germany’s pandemic restrictions to disband after participants refused to observe social distancing rules.

— Rescue efforts have ended in a northern Chinese village at a two-story restaurant that collapsed during an 80th birthday celebration, leaving 29 people dead, authorities said.

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HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— What will the future of TV look like? Here are five predictions for the fall (and a viewing guide).

— As Hollywood aims to relaunch moviegoing worldwide, Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated “Tenet” earned more than $53 million in its opening weekend across 41 international markets.

Bella Thorne responded to social media backlash over her decision to join the subscription platform OnlyFans, saying she was trying to help reduce the stigma around sex work.

— At MTV’s 35th VMAs, Lady Gaga — and the coronavirus — loomed large.

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BUSINESS

— A growing number of U.S. companies are pledging to give workers time off to vote in the presidential election this November, an effort that’s gaining steam despite the government’s reluctance to make election day a federal holiday.

— Columnist Michael Hiltzik asks: Why does the government let a company like Herbalife stay in business?

SPORTS

— L.A.'s basketball teams are on a roll: After the Lakers advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs, the Clippers joined them. Meanwhile, the Sparks clinched a WNBA playoff berth with their ninth consecutive win.

— The Dodgers set a home run record in defeating the Texas Rangers, a floundering club poised to sell players. The victory extended the Dodgers’ unbeaten series streak to 12 to begin the season.

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OPINION

— The census is in trouble. So is democracy, writes The Times’ editorial board.

— Sen. Kamala Harris’ vice presidential run is, in essence, a campaign to be America’s second Black president, Erin Aubry Kaplan writes.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— Congressional Democrats are calling the director of national intelligence’s cancellation of additional in-person election security briefings “outrageous.” Congress will still be briefed on election security through written reports; verbal briefings allow for questions. (NPR)

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Quentin Kopp, a retired judge and a former San Francisco city supervisor and state senator, writes angry letters to journalists about word usage. (San Francsico Chronicle)

ONLY IN L.A.

The Hollywood Bowl still sits empty, but one morning last week cars snaked into the Bowl’s parking lot, with a long line stretching for blocks down Highland Avenue, just as they did in pre-pandemic times. The traffic jam wasn’t for a concert; instead, it was a drive-through food giveaway, organized by the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank in partnership with L.A. County.

Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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