President Donald Trump threatened Thursday to send the National Guard into Portland, Oregon, to quell the nightly riots that have consumed the city’s federal courthouse and prompted clashes between left-wing extremists and the law enforcement officers tasked with protecting federal property.
During a press conference at the White House, Trump said that federal agents will remain in Portland under an agreement with the governor in order to monitor whether the state is capable of restoring peace in the city.
“And if they don’t do it, we will send in the National Guard and we’ll take care of it,” said Trump, also adding that “many should be arrested because these are professional agitators — these are professional anarchists.”
“These are people that hate our country, we’re telling them right now that we’re coming in very soon, the National Guard,” he said.
Trump also said that the mission of the National Guard, if it were deployed, would vary significantly from the current federal agents at the courthouse, who have been stationed inside and around the building in what the president referred to as a “cocoon.”
“These are not people that just have to guard the courthouse and save it,” Trump said of the National Guard.
“These are people who are allowed to go forward and do what they have to do,” he said, adding that Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Governor Kate Brown would be working over the next two days to “clean out this beehive of terrorists” in the city.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, the Oregon governor and Department of Homeland Security reached an agreement on Wednesday to build a “robust presence” of Oregon State Police in the downtown area, per DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf.
While Brown took to Twitter to refer to the agreement as a decision to “withdraw federal officers from Portland,” Wolf soon replied, saying the terms of the agreement are contingent on the “violent activity” toward the federal buildings and officers ending.
After my discussions with VP Pence and others, the federal government has agreed to withdraw federal officers from Portland. They have acted as an occupying force & brought violence. Starting tomorrow, all Customs and Border Protection & ICE officers will leave downtown Portland.
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) July 29, 2020
As I told the Governor yesterday, federal law enforcement will remain in Portland until the violent activity toward our federal facilities ends. We are not removing any law enforcement while our facilities and law enforcement remain under attack.
— Acting Secretary Chad Wolf (@DHS_Wolf) July 29, 2020
Late Thursday morning, however, Brown again tweeted that the federal agents were leaving: “I think we’ve had enough political grandstanding from DC. The President’s plan to ‘dominate’ the streets of American cities has failed. And today, federal troops are preparing to leave downtown Portland. We will protect free speech and the right to protest peacefully.”
I think we’ve had enough political grandstanding from DC. The President’s plan to “dominate” the streets of American cities has failed. And today, federal troops are preparing to leave downtown Portland. We will protect free speech and the right to protest peacefully.
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) July 30, 2020
According to KGW8, the two parks near the Portland courthouse, which have reportedly served as a “staging area” for the activity near the courthouse, were cleared on Thursday morning with the help of Oregon State Police.