President Trump sent fully armed battle-ready federal law enforcement officers to Portland, Oregon. According to the local government, this was done without local authority.
Those officers are from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Department of Homeland Security. Their presence is an unconscionable act of aggression by the federal government. Trump and the acting Homeland Security Officer Chad Wolf refuse to pull the officers out of the Northwestern U.S. city.
Oregon Public Radio (OPB) reports, these “officers have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least July 14, 2020.”
On July 16, U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley along with U.S. Reps. Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer signed a letter to U.S. Attorney William Barr and Wolf. In the letter they proclaimed:
This politically driven federal response is intolerable. The apparent lack of operational coordination between agencies, departments, and offices, and the violence perpetrated by federal personnel is particularly concerning.
Others added their thoughts about the unconstitutional and egregious actions taken by Trump against the citizens of Oregon.
Congressman Don Beyer (D-Va) tweeted “We don’t have secret police in the United States.”
Gregg Gonsalves tweeted: “I was dubious about seeing #Gestapo on @Twitter but what is happening is real, these are literally secret police.”
Trump Contends Portland Police Cannot Manage Their Job
During the military briefing on July 10, Trump announced he sent troops to Portland. His reasoning?
According to OPB, “to quell the nightly protests over police violence.” Trump further “claimed Portland police were incapable of managing the protests themselves.”
The seven-week-long protests, for the most part, have been peaceful until nightfall. Currently, there is no curfew in place, according to the person who answered the Multnomah County non-emergency number.
The curfew established earlier this year was canceled on June 2, by Mayor Ted Wheeler. The OPB report indicates the action was taken after determining the curfew was “largely ineffective at calming the surge of people who came onto the streets to demonstrate against police brutality.” Wheeler and Democrat Governor Kate Brown, each indicates the protests are peaceful for the most part.
Video of the federal agents, dressed as though they are going to war, gassing peaceful protesters, and chasing them out of Pioneer Square was disturbing. Not only was it disturbing it was unconstitutional.
Federal Agents Will Not Leave Portland Say, Wolf and Trump
Trump wants to be known as a “law and order president.” In June, during a phone conversation with the U.S. governors, the president told them they must dominate over the protesters, according to The Washington Post.
Dominate? Yes. He is telling the states’ leaders to stop the demonstrations; the Constitutional protests.
Wolf came to Portland on July 16 to discuss why the Federal Officers are in the city. During discussions with Brown, Oregon’s governor, he adamantly stood behind Trump’s decision to keep the officers in Portland. The acting-deputy claimed the following reason for sending in the officers:
The city of Portland has been under siege for [over 50] straight days by a violent mob while local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city. Instead of addressing violent criminals in their communities, local and state leaders are instead focusing on placing blame on law enforcement and requesting fewer officers in their community. This failed response has only emboldened the violent mob as it escalates violence day after day.
Portland’s mayor and the Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese declined the invitation to speak with Trump’s representative. However, each told KOIN6 News about the disruption and chaos brought to the city by the federal officers. Reese’s point of view:
As Sheriff, I value the positive relationship we have with our local law enforcement partners, including Federal Protective Services, U.S. Marshals Office, and the FBI. However, the actions by out-of-state federal agents last weekend failed to display good decision making and sound tactical judgment. The use of force did not appear proportional to the actions of the demonstrators. I look forward to a thorough investigation of the matter. These actions caused a significant setback in our local efforts to end the nightly violence around the Justice Center and in Portland.
Wheeler stated, “We do not need or want their help. The best thing they can do is stay inside their building, or leave Portland altogether.”
However, Trump is so proud of himself that on July 13, he boasted about his decision to send troops to crush the violence, saying the city “was totally out of control.” Furthermore, he says if it starts again the officers will “quell it again very easily. It’s not hard to do if you know what you’re doing.” It seems he really believes it when he claims “only he can fix America.”
Governor Brown demanded the removal of the troops during her meeting with Wolf. In response, Trump said the federal officers will remain in Portland until he is certain the federal buildings he claims to be defending are safe from radical thugs.
What Is Next? Martial Law?
President Trump’s actions are also raising concerns by civil rights advocates, who believe the Trump administration is testing the boundaries of its executive power.
The presence of federal officers in “Portland should concern everyone in the United States,” Jann Carson, interim executive director of the ACLU-Oregon.
She added: “Usually when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street we call it kidnapping. “The actions of the militarized federal officers are flat-out unconstitutional and will not go unanswered.”
Even people who refrain from labeling Trump’s actions as borderline have weighed in on the conversation. One is Ruth Marcus, Deputy Editorial Page Editor for The Washington Post explains her position: “As much as I revile what President Trump is doing to the country, I have not been among the alarmists who warn of incipient authoritarianism, of festering fascism.” Adding her hesitancy may have been “perhaps over-optimistic.”
Board Chair of CAIR-Oregon Zakir Khan weighed in with his thoughts. He thinks “Portland is a test case. They want to see what they can get away with before launching into other parts of the country.”
There are whispers of fear that Trump will declare martial law using the protests in the United States as an excuse. Naturally, this will interfere with the 2020 presidential election, which is the ultimate reasoning behind Trump’s threats.
Trump and Wolf use inflammatory language against the protesters, labeling them violent mobs, lawless anarchists, and thugs. The president loves to hurl incendiary words and conspiracies toward anything or anyone not part of his voter base. Such behavior is typical of Trump since he announced his intent to seek the office of the president. The result of his diatribes is division and strife.
He is building his case by fueling his base with blatant lies. Trump refers to the Black lives Matter organization as Marxist. He contends the “do-nothing Democrats” are really fascist anarchists and that America will come to a crashing end should “Joe Biden and his leftist bosses” win the 2020 election.
Trump absolutley wants his followers to believe that under a Biden administration Christians will be arrested for going to church. But if a person burns down a church there will be no consequences. A claim that has less to do with punishing Christians as it does with the violent demonstrators’ prosecution.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
KOIN 6 News: ‘Intolerable’: Lawmakers blast federal response to Portland protests
Oregon Public Broadcasting: President Trump Says Portland Police Are Incapable Of Managing Protests
Oregon Public Broadcasting: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets
KATU 2: Oregon leaders react after Portland protester injured, in serious condition
The Washington Post: Trump’s agents are sweeping peaceful citizens off the streets. This is not America.
The Washington Post: The Oregon governor wants federal officers out of Portland. Trump officials won’t listen. Why?
Courier Newsroom: Trump’s Use of Federal Forces in Portland Draws Comparisons to Gestapo and Secret Police
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Geralt’s Pixabay Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of IoSonoUnaFotoCamera’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License