Fox’s Napolitano rips ‘unconstitutional’ Trump crackdown on Portland: ‘Just plain wrong’
Andrew Napolitano slammed the Trump administration for sending federal law enforcement to Portland in response to violent protests in Oregon’s largest city, with the Fox News senior judicial analyst calling the move “unconstitutional” and “just plain wrong.”
His remarks come as Portland officials have requested the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) withdraw after videos of protesters being taken off the street by federal officers in unmarked cars prompted outrage.
“You have anarchy on one hand,” Napolitano said. “If the troops come in the streets, you have a potential for even more violence on the other hand.”
“What happened in Portland over the weekend, it was not only unlawful and unconstitutional, it’s just plain wrong,” the former New Jersey Superior Court judge continued. “Sending armed, untrained police into the streets wearing fatigues without the knowledge or consent of the local police actually caused more violence.”
Napolitano also talked about a complaint by Oregon’s attorney general against DHS that included allegations of kidnapping and blindfolding.
“You have a lot of peaceful demonstrators,” Napolitano argued. “The complaint filed by the attorney general of Oregon against the Department of Homeland Security recounts horror stories of peaceful people being kidnapped, held blindfold, handcuffed, and incommunicado for just two hours and then let go. There is no reason to disturb those people. The people they should stop are the ones with the baseball bats.”
“The federal government can’t do what it doesn’t have the authority to do,” he added. “And it shouldn’t do anything without the coordination of the locals.”
Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf told Fox News on Monday that he does not need an “invitation” from local officials before deploying federal law enforcement.
“I don’t need invitations by the state, state mayors or state governors to do our job. We’re going to do that, whether they like us there or not,” Wolf said.
“We want to work with them, and we have a great working relationship with the vast majority of local law enforcement,” he added. “However, there are some communities that, again, want to breed this environment that allows this lawlessness.”
President Trump on Monday signaled he may order federal agents to be deployed to Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia and other major cities as he threatens to crack down further on unrest across the country.
“I’m going to do something — that, I can tell you,” Trump said. “Because we’re not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia and Detroit and Baltimore and all of these — Oakland is a mess. We’re not going to let this happen in our country. All run by liberal Democrats.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was among the lawmakers who criticized the actions of federal officers, though he stopped short of criticizing Trump directly.
“We cannot give up liberty for security. Local law enforcement can and should be handling these situations in our cities but there is no place for federal troops or unidentified federal agents rounding people up at will,” Paul tweeted Monday to his more than 2.8 million followers.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.