Trump warns Portland: Clean it up or we clean it out
The White House and authorities in Oregon, in talks to get federal agents to leave the city, are negotiating over law enforcement provisions, say senior administration officials. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is also mulling the possibility that it might send more agents to the riot-prone city.
“The Trump administration has started talks with the Oregon governor’s office and indicated that it would begin to draw down the presence of federal agents sent to quell two months of chaotic protests in Portland if the state stepped up its own enforcement, a senior White House official said Tuesday,” reports the Associated Press.
The talks are underway as Seattle’s Mayor, Jenny Durkan, said that federal agents have already decamped from Seattle.
“@DHSgov notified me that federal forces deployed to Seattle have demobilized & left,” tweeted Durkan last night.
The Associated Press, however, say that talks between the state and the federal government in Portland, OR are in the early stages.
The Trump administration has contended that legitimate protests about racism have been “hijacked” by anti-democratic forces that include anarchists.
“Largely absent from these scenes of destruction are even superficial attempts by the rioters to connect their actions to George Floyd’s death or any legitimate call for reform,” Attorney General William Barr told members of Congress yesterday of the Portland protests.
Earlier this week, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, both Democrats, asked federal authorities for a “cease-fire” agreement between federal agents and the protesters that Wheeler and Brown have recently described as peaceful.
Two months ago, however, Brown and Wheeler were fighting publicly about whether to deploy the state’s National Guard to put a damper on the violence that too often has accompanied protests that are supposed to be about ending violence.
“Wheeler said he supported sending National Guard troops to help stem protests, which have largely been peaceful but have seen waves of property destruction and theft at times by smaller groups of people. Businesses have estimated damages reaching into the millions of dollars,” reports Oregon’s National Public Radio.
Brown balked at the request, publicly blasting the Mayor for wanting to see troops clash with protesters.
Protesters used the ensuing paralysis amongst the top leadership in the state to ratchet up the violence, thus ensuring that the White House ordered federal agents to the city.
Conservatives have accused both Brown and Wheeler of hypocrisy as liberals have favored draconian measures to combat the coronavirus, like quarantines of healthy people and forced masking, while liberals excoriated federal agents protecting federal property and enforcing the law as “stormtroopers.”
President Trump is unfazed.
“We’re not leaving until they secure their city,” warned Trump. “If they don’t secure their city soon, we have no choice — we’re gonna have to go in and clean it out.”
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