Trump, Portland mayor trade blame for rise in violence
President Trump and Portland, Ore., Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) on Sunday traded jabs over who was responsible for the rise in violence in the city between Black Lives Matter protesters and counterprotesters that led to a fatal shooting Saturday night.
The two men sparred in real time but over different mediums, with Wheeler first placing the blame on Trump during a press conference Sunday afternoon, Trump firing back on Twitter while the press conference was still ongoing and Wheeler responding to the tweets.
“Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence?” Wheeler said. “It’s you who have created the hate and the division. It’s you who have not found a way to say the names of Black people people killed by police officers even as people in law enforcement have, and it’s you who claimed that white supremacists are good people.”
Wheeler urged unity as he accused Trump of dividing the nation with “petty politics.”
“He has an opportunity to uplift us and bring us together and help us move through this difficult situation in our nation’s history, and instead he chooses to play petty politics and divide us. That’s my reaction,” Wheeler said. “So I’m going to do the work I need to do here in my local community with my local officials to take accountability for what’s happening on our streets.”
“I’d appreciate either the president support us or he stay the hell out of the way,” the mayor added.
WHEELER: “I’d appreciate that either the President support us or stay the hell out of the way!” pic.twitter.com/FJjD7n76sv
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 30, 2020
Trump responded almost immediately.
“Ted Wheeler, the wacky Radical Left Do Nothing Democrat Mayor of Portland, who has watched great death and destruction of his City during his tenure, thinks this lawless situation should go on forever. Wrong! Portland will never recover with a fool for a Mayor,” Trump tweeted.
“He tried mixing with the Agitators and Anarchists and they mocked him. He would like to blame me and the Federal Government for going in, but he hasn’t seen anything yet,” the president added.
“We have only been there with a small group to defend our U.S. Courthouse, because he couldn’t do it,” Trump continued, seemingly referring to when the Trump administration sent federal law enforcement officials to Portland amid protests.
“The people of Portland, like all other cities & parts of our great Country, want Law & Order. The Radical Left Democrat Mayors, like the dummy running Portland, or the guy right now in his basement unwilling to lead or even speak out against crime, will never be able to do it!” Trump said.
Ted Wheeler, the wacky Radical Left Do Nothing Democrat Mayor of Portland, who has watched great death and destruction of his City during his tenure, thinks this lawless situation should go on forever. Wrong! Portland will never recover with a fool for a Mayor….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2020
..The people of Portland, like all other cities & parts of our great Country, want Law & Order. The Radical Left Democrat Mayors, like the dummy running Portland, or the guy right now in his basement unwilling to lead or even speak out against crime, will never be able to do it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2020
“It’s classic Trump. Mr. President, how can you think a comment like that, if you’re watching this, is in any way helpful?” Wheeler said in response.
“It’s an aggressive stance. It’s not collaborative. I certainly reached out, I believe in a collaborative manner, by saying earlier that you need to do your part and I need to do my part and then we both need to be held accountable. And I think it would be helpful not for me to tell you how to do your job because, frankly, I don’t appreciate it when you tell me how to do mine, but this would be a really good time for all of us to stand together, to lock arms, to denounce the violence,” he said.
“Wouldn’t that be a message? Donald Trump and Ted Wheeler working together to help move this country forward. Why don’t we try that for a change?” Wheeler added.
The testy exchange followed a series of Sunday morning tweets from Trump labelling Wheeler a “FOOL” and calling to bring in the National Guard.
Democrats widely criticized Trump on Sunday, accusing him of inciting violence for political gain.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden issued a statement on Sunday, shortly before Trump’s latest series of Twitter attacks against Wheeler, condemning the violence in Portland and calling for Trump to do the same.
“I condemn this violence unequivocally. I condemn violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right. And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same,” Biden said in the statement.
Police said a person was fatally shot in Portland after the clashes between Black Lives Matter protesters and a caravan of Trump supporters.
The fatal shooting in Portland came after a shooting last week during a protest in Kenosha, Wis., killed two people and injured another. Officials arrested Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Illinois, after the two protesters were shot in Kenosha. He faces multiple charges, including first-degree intentional homicide.
Protests over racial injustice and police brutality reignited after Kenosha police shot Jacob Blake last week. Protests have occurred nightly in Portland following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody in May.
Trump is expected to visit Kenosha on Tuesday amid the unrest.