Portland, Ore., Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) on Sunday sharply criticized the Trump administration’s use of federal law enforcement officials in his city, calling it "abhorrent" and arguing it is leading to more violence.
Wheeler said the federal officers are making the situation worse and escalating a conflict, and that he wanted them to leave.
“The president has a complete misunderstanding of cause and effect. What’s happening here is we have dozens, if not hundreds, of federal troops descending upon our city and what they’re doing is they are sharply escalating the situation,” Wheeler said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“Their presence here is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism, and it’s not helping the situation at all. They're not wanted here, we haven't asked them here. In fact, we want them to leave,” the mayor added.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler on federal troops descending upon the unrest in his city: "Their presence here is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism. And it's not helping the situation at all. They're not wanted here" https://t.co/20VH2GZFlS #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/uTi9qC5mBY— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) July 19, 2020
Wheeler's comments were a direct response to the president’s Sunday morning tweet, stating that his administration is “trying to help Portland, not hurt it.”
“Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!,” Trump tweeted.
We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it. Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2020
Trump’s tweet in defense of the federal troops sent to Portland came after Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D) sued federal agencies on Friday over the detention of protesters. The American Civil Liberties Union also filed a similar lawsuit against federal agencies over deploying the agents to quell demonstrators in Portland.
Wheeler said he “absolutely” agrees that the Trump administration's actions in his city are breaking the law.
“The tactics that the Trump administration are using on the streets of Portland are abhorrent,” he said.
“People are being literally scooped off the street into unmarked vans, rental cars apparently. They are being denied probable cause, and they're denied due process. They don't even know who's pulling them into the vans, the people aren't identifying themselves. And as far as I can see this is completely unconstitutional,” the mayor added.
Wheeler said he and other officials in Portland and Oregon are trying to build awareness around what is happening and will continue to tell the Trump administration to stop.
“They are not helping us, they are hurting us. They are escalating an already dangerous situation,” Wheeler said. “And what I want to do is raise awareness nationally. This could happen in your city, and what we’re seeing is a blatant abuse of police tactics by the federal government, by a Trump administration that's falling in the polls, and this is a direct threat to our democracy.”