President Donald Trump suggested he will dispatch federal agents to more major cities in the United States to protect federal property and suppress violent riots.
Trump spoke to reporters in the Oval Office on Monday and promised to “do something” about a surge of violence that is hitting cities such as New York and Chicago. He suggested that the federal response to those cities and others will look similar to the actions of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Portland, Oregon.
DHS deployed officers with the Border Patrol Tactical Unit to Portland last week to protect a federal courthouse and other property from looters and arsonists. The officers began conducting targeted arrests of suspected ringleaders and taking them away in unmarked cars on July 14.
“I’m going to do something, that I can tell you because we are not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore and all of these – Oakland is a mess. We’re not going to let this happen in our country,” Trump said, adding that the cities are “all run by liberal Democrats.”
“We have more federal law enforcement, that I can tell you. In Portland, they’ve done a fantastic job. They’ve been there three days, and they have really done a fantastic job in a really short period of time. No problem,” Trump continued. “These are anarchists, these are not protesters. People say protesters, these people are anarchists. These are people that hate our country and we are not going to let it go forward.”
Trump slammed elected officials in Oregon for allowing the riots to continue for well over a month before DHS deployed agents to the city. The president said that Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and other lawmakers have failed to act because they are “physically afraid” of the rioters.
“They are afraid. I really believe they are actually, maybe even physically afraid of these people because what they’re doing is incredible. We didn’t just go there, this wasn’t like it started right away,” Trump said. “These are anarchists, and the politicians out there, yes, they’re weak, but they’re afraid of these people. They are 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
Brown and Wheeler have criticized Trump and requested that the federal government pull out of Portland. Brown called the DHS crackdown “political theater” and a federal abuse of power. Wheeler said that the federal agents have only inflamed the situation and caused more violence.
“My biggest immediate concern is the violence federal officers brought to our streets in recent days, and the life-threatening tactics his agents use. We do not need or want their help,” Wheeler said in a tweet last week.
Over the weekend in Chicago, more than 60 people were shot and at least a dozen people were killed. New York City has seen a surge in shootings from last year to this year as the city emerges from a strict coronavirus lockdown and Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio pursues an agenda of setting inmates loose while cutting back the number of police.