Democrat Rep. Debra Haaland (NM) proclaimed on Sunday that far-left extremist group Antifa consists of "peaceful protesters" who are just trying to protect Portland from "domestic terrorism."
Haaland's remarks came in response to a tweet from President Donald Trump, who wrote on Saturday: "Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an 'ORGANIZATION OF TERROR.' Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job!"
Trump's tweet came as Antifa members descended on Portland for clashes with other protest groups, including the right-wing "Proud Boys," and law enforcement over the weekend. The Washington Examiner reported:
With the rallygoers gone, antifa and counterprotesters, who vastly outnumbered the right-wing group, stayed in the park and spread out into the downtown area.
Often ignoring police commands to stay on the sidewalks, the antifa members marched around and engaged in small confrontations with individuals who were perceived or proclaimed to be against antifa. One case resulted in police using pepper balls and arresting a man on the counterprotest side who had advocated for fights throughout.
"This is on par with what the president does," Haaland said. "He sides with the white supremacists, he sides with the white nationalists, with the domestic terrorists in our country. He's incited violence against people of color. Portland is a progressive city. They want to ensure that they keep their city moving forward."
"It's not surprising that Trump would side away from the folks who are the peaceful protesters working to safeguard their city from domestic terrorism," Haaland continued. "Just not surprised at all that the president sides with the white nationalists. That's been his mode of operation since before he was elected president."
Haaland seemed unaware of the fact that a self-described member of Antifa carried out a domestic terror attack against an ICE facility in Tacoma, Washington, in July. A Seattle-based Antifa group celebrated the domestic terrorist as "a martyr who gave his life to the struggle against fascism." Earlier this month, a man who appeared to be a supporter of Antifa shot 36 people in Dayton, Ohio.