Trump blasts Oregon officials over Portland protests

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally MORE on Wednesday went on the offensive once again against Oregon Democrats who have opposed the presence of federal agents in Portland, calling Gov. Kate BrownKate BrownPac-12 moves toward 'return to competition' after Big Ten announces resumption of football season Oregon opens first mobile morgue amid wildfires Sunday shows - Trump team defends coronavirus response MORE (D) and Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) “very weak people.”

The president’s comments come after The Associated Press reported that the White House and Brown’s office are in talks to remove the federal officers from downtown Portland, where they’ve been since late June.

“As far as Portland is concerned, we’ve taken a very strong stance. They are anarchists, they’re radical, crazy people and they’re either going to straighten it out themselves — Portland, the police and maybe if the state gets involved,” Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for Texas. 

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"We're not leaving until they've secured their city," he said. "If they don't secure their city soon, we have no choice, we're going to have to go in and clean it out.

“That means the governor and the mayor; they’re very weak people. These radicals, these anarchists are controlling [Brown and Wheeler],” Trump added.

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On Monday, Wheeler and Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty requested a meeting with acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfSenate to hold nomination hearing for Wolf next week Hillicon Valley: FBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden | Treasury Dept. sanctions Iranian government-backed hackers Democrats slam DHS chief for defying subpoena for testimony on worldwide threats MORE “to discuss a cease-fire and the removal of heightened federal forces from Portland.” 

Wolf, in conjunction with the Justice Department, deployed the federal officers to protect Portland’s Hatfield Federal Courthouse, which has suffered damage during the Black Lives Matter protests in the city. Demonstrations have dominated the area around the courthouse since George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police at the end of May, equating to more than 60 days of protesting.

The Trump administration has repeatedly lauded the performance of the officers, though protesters have increasingly blasted their presence in the city. For weeks, protesters and agents have clashed, with officers firing tear gas to disperse the crowds, while protesters have set off fireworks and started fires close to the courthouse. 

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrMichigan resident puts toilet on front lawn with sign 'Place mail in ballots here' Barr says Ginsburg 'leaves a towering legacy' Republicans call for DOJ to prosecute Netflix executives for releasing 'Cuties' MORE on Tuesday also defended the federal officers, which include U.S. Marshals.

“We are on the defense. We are not out looking for trouble,” Barr told the House Judiciary Committee.

“I just reject the idea that the Department has flooded anywhere and attempted to suppress demonstrators. ... In Portland, the courthouse is under attack,” Barr said, citing the use of explosives and projectiles by protesters against the federal officers.

The conduct of the officers, however, has been heavily criticized by Democratic lawmakers, after reports surfaced two weeks ago of federal officers — clad in unidentifiable military fatigues — picking up and detaining protesters in unmarked vans.