Portland mayor responds to Trump: ‘Stay away, please’
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) fired back at President Trump after he suggested sending the National Guard to Oregon’s largest city to deal with protests, pleading with him to “stay away, please.”
“Yet again, you said you offered to aid Portland by sending in federal law enforcement to our city. On behalf of the City of Portland: No thanks,” Wheeler wrote in a fiery letter to the president Friday.
“We don’t need your politics of division and demagoguery. Portlanders are onto you. We have already seen your reckless disregard for human life in your bumbling response to the COVID pandemic. And we know you’ve reached the conclusion that images of violence or vandalism are your only ticket to reelection,” he added.
The letter comes as Portland grapples with lingering protests over systemic racism and police brutality that were sparked by the May killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
Demonstrations across the country have erupted again in recent days after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., this week. Blake was shot several times in the back and survived, though his family says he is paralyzed from the waist down.
Most of the protests in Portland have remained peaceful, though some demonstrations early on devolved into looting and clashes with law enforcement, leading to threats from Trump to send the National Guard to restore order.
Trump renewed that suggestion Friday after the National Guard arrived in Kenosha to grapple with some violent demonstrations there.
“Success: Since the National Guard moved into Kenosha, Wisconsin, two days ago, there has been NO FURTHER VIOLENCE, not even a small problem. When legally asked to help by local authorities, the Federal Government will act and quickly succeed. Are you listening Portland?” he tweeted.
Success: Since the National Guard moved into Kenosha, Wisconsin, two days ago, there has been NO FURTHER VIOLENCE, not even a small problem. When legally asked to help by local authorities, the Federal Government will act and quickly succeed. Are you listening Portland?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2020
Wheeler expressed confidence that local law enforcement could handle the situation and that a past deployment of the National Guard to the city exacerbated the protests.
“There is no place for looting, arson, or vandalism in our city. There is no room here for racist violence or those who wish to bring their ideology of hate into our community. Those who commit criminal acts will be apprehended and prosecuted under the law,” he said.
“When you sent the Feds to Portland last month, you made the situation far worse. Your offer to repeat that disaster is a cynical attempt to stoke fear and distract us from the real work of our city,” he added. “Stay away, please.”
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.