During the summer of 2020, as widespread non-violent protests for racial justice gave way to steadily creeping violence and property destruction, we published our concerns on these pages that there was practically zero political will - and zero political incentive - by either party to do what was necessary to reduce that violence.
Republicans and Donald Trump believed that the violence at a number of BLM-related events would be framed alongside deeply unpopular "defund the police" narratives as long as they continued. They believed, I think, that this framing would be electorally helpful. However perverse, from a purely electoral perspective I believe they were right on both counts. They did not win the presidency, of course, but on most ballots the GOP outperformed very low expectations. I think antipathy toward the events of the summer played a significant role.
Still, if he wished to do so, Donald Trump possessed and did not exercise meaningful power to de-escalate and reduce this violence at multiple points.