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Illinois lawmaker says Trump wants to instigate a race war

Illinois lawmaker says Trump wants to instigate a race war
© Greg Nash

Rep. Bobby RushBobby Lee RushOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 House Democrats criticize Texas's 'shortcomings in preparations' on winter storms MORE (D-Ill.) on Wednesday lashed out at President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Albany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Advocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout MORE for his support of federal officers deployed to Portland in recent weeks, saying that the president's "game plan" is to stoke racial tension among the country.

"Trump wants to instigate a race war," Rush, who has served in Congress since 1993, told radio show host Joe Madison. "He wants to have Black folks fighting white folks so he can rise up and say, 'I'm the real Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and I'm the president. Reelect me.' That's what he's trying to do. He's trying to play to the fears, to the racial animus that exists among certain white people, and he will do everything and anything to do that because he wants to be reelected at all costs."

Trump has been accused of racism at multiple points during his presidency, a record that has resurfaced amid his response to nationwide protests and unrest following the police killing of George Floyd on May 25.

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He and his administration have taken a hard-line stance against the nationwide protests, with Trump often highlighting the violent clashes between protesters and law enforcement that have occurred. Black Lives Matter protests in downtown Portland, Ore., have been going strong for more than 50 days. Amid the protests, several federal buildings were damaged, prompting acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfSunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues Liberal watchdog group files ethics complaint over Boebert's reimbursements Left-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides MORE to mobilize federal officials to the city at the end of June.

Trump and Wolf have both used fiery language to describe protesters. Last week, the acting secretary called demonstrators a "violent mob" and "lawless anarchists."

In recent weeks, tensions between the protesters and federal officials have reached a fever pitch.

Two weekends ago, a protester was critically injured after being shot in the head by nonlethal ammunition fired by federal officers. On Friday, reports surfaced that federal agents clad in unidentifiable military fatigues and driving unmarked vans were picking up protesters and detaining them. 

The conduct of the federal agents have been widely criticized, particularly by Democratic lawmakers, and have raised serious legal and constitutional questions.

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The president on Monday said that he would possibly be sending more federal officers to other "Democratic" cities, saying that the agents in Portland were doing "a fantastic job." 

On Tuesday, Wolf doubled down as well, saying that the federal officers in Portland “will not retreat."