House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) compared the federal police in Portland, Oregon, to the Nazi Gestapo and accused President Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr of implementing tactics reminiscent of the Third Reich, which he claimed threaten American democracy.
In a Monday morning interview on CNN’s News Day, Clyburn said regarding the federal police presence in Portland, “I would really like to know who ordered those people to be there. The way I understand things, it seems that somebody had to be deputized by the attorney general, or some order from him, to do what they were doing.”
“And so, I believe law enforcement of that nature should be left up to local communities and these communities. If they want help, they will then summon the federal government to intercede,” he added.
Clyburn continued, “For all of a sudden for these people to go in there, nothing from the governor, nothing from local law enforcement, just show up with their faces covered in unmarked cars […] That kind of activity is the activity of a police state, and this president and this attorney general seem to be doing everything they possibly can to impose Gestapo activities in local communities, and that is what I have been warning about for a long time.”
“That is the beginning of the ending of this democracy,” Clyburn added.
Members of Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol Tactical Unit, as well as the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group, were dispatched to Portland recently to protect federal property after vandals ripped down statues of figures such as Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Footage of federal officials in camouflage whisking protesters away in unmarked vans made the rounds on social media.
Take these terrorists off the streets and disappear them for months. Oh if only. pic.twitter.com/NYW7qKCXSw
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) July 15, 2020
“Federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least July 14,” according to Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) last week. “Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation of why they are being arrested, and driving off.”
“The tactic appears to be another escalation in federal force deployed on Portland city streets, as federal officials and President Donald Trump have said they plan to ‘quell’ nightly protests outside the federal courthouse and Multnomah County Justice Center that have lasted for more than six weeks,” OPB continued. “Federal officers have charged at least 13 people with crimes related to the protests so far, while others have been arrested and released.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also likened the federal officers to Nazi “stormtroopers,” and accused Trump of unleashing “secret police” on the American people.
“We live in a democracy, not a banana republic,” Pelosi said in a joint statement with Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OH). “We will not tolerate the use of Oregonians, Washingtonians – or any other Americans – as props in President Trump’s political games. The House is committed to moving swiftly to curb these egregious abuses of power immediately.”
We live in a democracy, not a banana republic. We will not tolerate the use of Americans as props in President Trump’s political games.
Read my full statement with Rep. Earl Blumenauer here: https://t.co/YGd6pnrHxT
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 19, 2020
Trump on Monday praised the federal law enforcement in Portland and said he might send them into other Democrat-run cities to quell riotous protesters. “These are anarchists, and the politicians out there — yes, they’re weak, but they’re afraid of these people. They’re actually afraid of these people. And that’s why they say, ‘We don’t want the federal government helping.'”
#BREAKING: President Trump says he may send "more federal law enforcement" to New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, Oakland, and other cities to deal with unrest: "In Portland they’ve done a fantastic job." pic.twitter.com/Pe6aDv6AVt
— The Hill (@thehill) July 20, 2020
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