Portland mayor to Trump: ‘It’s you who have created the hate and the division’
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) denounced President Trump on Sunday after the president attacked his leadership and claimed it was to blame for the escalating unrest in the city.
“It’s you who have created the hate and the division,” Wheeler said at a news conference. “It’s you who have not found a way to say the names of Black people killed by police officers even as people in law enforcement have. And it’s you who claimed that white supremacists are good people.”
“Your campaign of fear is as anti-democratic as anything you’ve done to create hate and vitriol in our beautiful country,” he added.
Wheeler’s remarks followed the death of a man who was shot in Portland on Saturday night following a day in which a caravan of Trump supporters entered the city and clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters.
The victim was reportedly wearing a hat with “Patriot Prayer” emblazoned across the front. Patriot Prayer is far-right group that has clashed with protesters in the past. The man has been identified as Aaron “Jay” Danielson, The Associated Press reported.
Skirmishes took place throughout downtown Portland on Saturday afternoon after a long line of cars and trucks carrying Trump supporters entered the city. It remains unclear whether the shooting was linked to the skirmishes.
Trump did not comment on the incident, but in a series of tweets Sunday said the tensions in the city were a result of inaction from local leadership. He labeled Wheeler “incompetent” and a “fool” and urged him to call in the National Guard.
The president also labeled members of Patriot Prayer who traveled to Portland as “great patriots.”
Wheeler said the people who entered Portland on Saturday were “supported and energized by the president himself.” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) added in a separate statement Sunday evening that they came to the city “armed and looking for a fight.”
“Every Oregonian has the right to freely express their views without fear of deadly violence,” she said. “I will not allow Patriot Prayer and armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets.”
Portland has been the site of daily protests since the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In July, tensions heightened after federal law enforcement were deployed to a federal courthouse in the city. Their presence led to violent clashes between federal officers and demonstrators.
The Portland Police Bureau has declared riots on several occasions amid the demonstrations. The police said 10 people were arrested on Saturday.
Wheeler sent a letter to Trump last week rejecting Trump’s repeated calls for federal intervention. He said the city would be able to handle violence, as well as arson and looting. Brown late Sunday released a plan mobilizing the Oregon State Police to assist local authorities in Portland.
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