MSNBC political analyst John Heilemann alleged on Tuesday that President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE is using federal agents to quell violent protests in Portland as a "trial run" to "try to steal this election."
Heilemann, a staunch Trump critic, made the claim during a panel discussion on "Morning Joe" regarding the Trump administration's decision to send federal law enforcement agents to Portland in response to weeks of demonstration it said were endangering federal property.
Local officials have asked the administration to remove the federal police, saying they are making the situation worse. Trump on Monday praised their actions and said he may send federal law enforcement to other U.S. cities.
“I don’t want to be overly alarmist about this, but this is the time to be alarmist knowing where Donald Trump stands politically, understanding where we are headed in this election. I think we are looking at potentially a trial run for ... a genuine attempt to, through intimidation, and potentially through force, to try to steal this election," Heilemann said.
"I think we are now at the point where we see the things that the president is doing, we see his intention to not accept an outcome of this election where he loses to Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE," he added.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfSunday shows preview: States deal with fallout of Ida; Texas abortion law takes effect Biden, Trump battle over who's to blame for Afghanistan The border is shifting from a manufactured crisis to a national embarrassment MORE 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."
Trump on Monday hinted he may order federal agents to be deployed to New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and other major cities as he vows to crack down further on unrest across the country.