Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., have spoken out against violence that has plagued cities across the country amid protests against racism and police brutality, but others in their party have lagged behind, either qualifying their reactions or failing to address the matter altogether.
President Trump and his campaign have accused Biden of being "too late" with his response, but the former vice president has sought to speak out more forcefully on the issue, with his latest statement coming after a man believed to be a Trump supporter was shot in Portland. He also delivered a speech on the issue in Pittsburgh on Monday.
"The deadly violence we saw overnight in Portland is unacceptable," Biden said in a statement posted on his website and Twitter. "Shooting in the streets of a great American city is unacceptable. I condemn this violence unequivocally. I condemn violence of every kind by any one, whether on the left or the right."
Back on May 31, while looting took place around the country following George Floyd's death, Biden also released a statement.
"Protesting such brutality is right and necessary. It’s an utterly American response," he said. "But burning down communities and needless destruction is not. Violence that endangers lives is not. Violence that guts and shutters businesses that serve the community is not."
Biden's campaign has also made it clear that the nominee supports law enforcement and is not in favor of defunding police.
Other Democratic leaders, however, have been less than full-throated in their opposition to violent demonstrations and looting. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told NPR in June that "there is no place" for violence in political expression, but this was couched in a larger statement against President Trump where she criticized him for responding too harshly.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez also condemned violence in a Wednesday tweet, but only violence against peaceful protesters. Perez did not even address those who have used violence as part of their demonstrations or looters who have caused trouble in the middle of the protests.
Perez also used the moment to claim that President Trump has actually "called for" more violence, a position that Biden himself was taking during his Monday appearance in Pittsburgh.
"This president long ago forfeited any moral leadership in this country. He can't stop the violence – because for years he has fomented it," Biden said, according to excerpts of his speech released by his campaign.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., went so far as to support unrest, although she did not say she wanted violence.
"There needs to be unrest in the streets for as long as there’s unrest in our lives," Pressley told MSNBC.
The party's struggle to articulate a stance on riots was made evident when Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., tweeted strong opposition to both police shootings and looting, only to swiftly delete the post under pressure.
"This isn't hard. Vigilantism is bad. Police officers shooting black people in the back is bad. Looting and property damage is bad," Murphy tweeted Thursday morning. "You don't have to choose. You can be against it all. You can just be for peace."
Roughly four hours later, the tweet was gone and Murphy tweeted again, saying he deleted the earlier post because it "mistakenly gave the impression that I thought there was an equivalency between property crime and murder."
In another tweet he claimed that he had been "reacting to those on the right who think they have to choose."
Murphy did not post any further condemnation of looting or other violent protests and his office has not responded to Fox News' request for further comment on the subject.
Republicans such as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, have leaned on Democrats to do more to oppose violent acts. Paul and his wife were surrounded by protesters who yelled at them after they left President Trump's speech at the Republican National Convention.
"[A]s we went to leave, it became apparent there was no safe exit out the gates and through the unruly mob that had gathered there," Paul wrote in an opinion piece for Fox News. "Why? Because another Democratic-run city had decided it would bow to lawless rioters instead of protecting its citizens."
Paul went on to call out Pelosi for dubbing him and his fellow Senate Republicans "enemies of the state," and claimed that Harris advocated paying bail to get violent rioters out of jail.
Harris has since posted a statement on Twitter condemning the violence.
"I join @JoeBiden in condemning this violence. This can not—and must not—be who we are," Harris said. She went on to imply that President Trump prefers to "fan the flames of hate and division," as he has offered cities federal assistance in quelling violent unrest.
Three days earlier, Harris also spoke out against criminal behavior, saying that while she supports protests following the death of Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake, there is a difference between protests and violent crime.
"We must always defend peaceful protest and peaceful protesters," Harris said. "We should not confuse them with those looting and committing acts of violence, including the shooter, who was arrested for murder. And make no mistake we will not let these vigilantes and extremists derail the path to justice. "
Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., took issue with how Republicans have cast her party as somehow supporting criminal activity.
"The country watched George Floyd be murdered," Dingell told Fox News. "We have to deal with it. But that does not mean that we support anarchy or destruction, looting and all these things that people are saying from the podium at the Republican convention. I support my law enforcement."
Dingell went on to say she was "not going to let anybody paint me or most of my Democratic colleagues as somebody who is supporting ... these fires and this looting."
Fox News' Marisa Schultz, Nick Givas, Paul Steinhauser, and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.