By Sophie Hayssen
At the peak intensity of nationwide protests against police violence, social media was flooded with videos of officers beating and driving cars into protesters. News outlets questioned whether “outside agitators” had infiltrated the demonstrations and circulated images of defaced and looted storefronts, sparking debate about what was deemed “acceptable” protest behavior. In the midst of all of this, there seemed to be one word on many pundits’ and politicians’ lips: anarchy.
President Donald Trump and his administration, in particular, have been preoccupied with labeling protesters as “anarchists.” “These are anarchists. These are not protesters,” Trump said in July amid the ongoing protests in Portland. During a June 29 press conference, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany proclaimed, “Law and order are the building blocks to the American Dream, but if anarchy prevails, this dream comes crumbling down,” before proudly announcing that the administration had arrested “over 100 anarchists for rioting and destruction of federal property.”