Trump: Feds won’t leave Portland until governor clamps down on protesters
President Trump insisted Thursday that federal agents would not leave Portland until Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) “clear[s] out” protesters from the city, a day after Brown announced an agreement with the federal government to begin withdrawing federal tactical teams from the area.
Trump in a tweet accused Brown of not “doing her job” and lambasted protesters in Portland as “anarchists” and “agitators.”
“She must clear out, and in some cases arrest, the Anarchists & Agitators in Portland,” Trump tweeted of Brown. “If she can’t do it, the Federal Government will do it for her. We will not be leaving until there is safety!”
Kate Brown, Governor of Oregon, isn’t doing her job. She must clear out, and in some cases arrest, the Anarchists & Agitators in Portland. If she can’t do it, the Federal Government will do it for her. We will not be leaving until there is safety!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2020
In her own tweet, Brown accused Trump of “political grandstanding” and said that federal agents were preparing to leave downtown Portland on Thursday.
“I think we’ve had enough political grandstanding from DC. The President’s plan to ‘dominate’ the streets of American cities has failed,” she wrote. “We will protect free speech and the right to protest peacefully.”
Brown had said in a statement on Wednesday that she reached an agreement for federal agents to begin a phased withdrawal on Thursday from Portland after discussions with Trump administration officials, including Vice President Pence. She said state and local police would secure the exterior of a U.S. courthouse being protected by federal personnel and that a “limited contingent of federal officers” focused on building security would remain inside the courthouse.
Administration officials, however, were not as definitive on the timeline. Pence said at a “Cops for Trump” campaign event later Thursday that “federal law enforcement officers are not leaving Portland until the federal courthouse is secure and law abiding citizens are safe.”
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Thursday that he and Brown had reached a joint plan to end the violence in the city and that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials would maintain their presence until officials are sure that the federal courthouse in downtown Portland “will no longer be attacked and that the seat of justice in Portland will remain secure.”
Asked an interview on ABC News later Wednesday whether DHS had gone back on their word, Brown said that the agreement between both sides was “very, very clear” that said DHS officials would begin leaving the city on Thursday afternoon.
“This is definitely a step-by-step, gradual process, but we know how it ends. They will be out of the city of Portland and Oregonians will be in charge,” Brown said on ABC.
Portland has been the site of violent clashes between protesters and officers for several weeks. The Trump administration early in July sent DHS agents to the city in order to protect the Hatfield Federal Courthouse in downtown Portland, despite opposition from local leaders.
Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) have repeatedly urged the federal government to remove its agents, arguing they are worsening and not improving the situation. But Trump has insisted on the need for federal presence, attacking the state’s Democratic leaders and accusing them of losing control of the city.
—Updated at 1:39 p.m.